Trouble Sleeping

Secrets to a Better Night’s Sleep

This is a tough one!    Do you have trouble sleeping?

I have a lot of experience with this, with myself, my customers and my family!  I fell asleep as I started to write this.  Not because I can fall asleep on a dime.  I fell asleep because I didn’t sleep much last night.  I’m excited about some simplifying we’re doing in the business, and I think my body is reacting like Santa’s coming tomorrow.  I have all this work to do during the day…and I’m so tired because I stay up being excited about what I get to do during the day.

PURE is due out next week.  That’s another thing that has me excited.

I am in a new boomers group on Facebook.   It’s kinda funny because when I wake up, I will get caught up on Facebook.  It used to be my friends in the UK and Australia were the only ones up then.  Now I see my boomers are on too!

Tony Robbins was in my DVD player yesterday, interviewing someone about the different times of history as compared to the times of our lives.  I believe that each time of our life brings us extra sleep challenges.

Cathy Sykora

Cathy Sykora

Founder, The Health Coach Group

Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.

Times of Our Lives

  • When I was a child, I went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up.
  • As a teenager, they moved my bedroom to the basement, and it was always dark.  I think I slept a lot.
  • When I got out on my own, I partied all night and slept all day…I am sure that wasn’t healthy at all.
  • Then, I got married and had babies and was exhausted and wanted to sleep.  I couldn’t because my babies wanted me 24/7.  I was very sleep deprived during that time.
  • I finally started sleeping normally again and then…
  • My children started dating and driving.  That just about does you in!  Thank goodness for cell phones, but even so, I never slept until they got home.  I was very appreciative of the new law when my son got his license, and it said that all new drivers had to be home by midnight.  There was no debate.
  • My kids went to college, and I started sleeping like I did when I was a child again.  I’d fall asleep when it gets dark and up when the sun rises…life is good.

Sleep is so important.  We are meant to recharge our batteries nightly, and if we don’t do that, we start to bear the consequences.


Sleep deprivation effects:

  1. Growth
  2. Reasoning
  3. Diabetes
  4. Weight (gain or loss)
  5. Healing
  6. Memory
  7. Ability
  8. Function (performance)

My client has a daughter who is not sleeping.  She is about 13, and she does not sleep at night.  The doctors think that the problem is hormonal.  The problem is so severe that she is missing significant amounts of school and seeing sleep specialists from outside our area.  We made some changes to her environment to help her sleep to be less disrupted.  It is like eating, the cause needs to be looked at to try to influence her behavior, and at the same time, you do everything around it to try to make it better.  What we did to her environment did not eliminate the underlying problem.  It did take away any of the contributors.   We took out anything with a small light on it, digital clocks, boombox, nightlights, etc.  We put up 100% room darkening drapery so that no light could enter from outside.  All the colors in the room were limited to non-stimulating and tranquil.  She stopped using the computer or watching television several hours before bedtime to slow down the brain a little.  She quietly sat and read a book before bedtime.

In my lifetime, I have had troubles sleeping.  I could tie my troubles to hormones, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, children’s activities and wine!  As long as you know the reason, I think you can eliminate the problem.  There was a stressful time in my life that I took Benadryl nightly (at my doctor’s suggestion) to sleep better.  It wasn’t a short period either, I think I took them for almost 2 years in increasing dosage.  After a while, I started thinking I was getting dementia.  My short term memory was almost non-existent!  I can remember visiting my Mom and Dad and asking when my Grandma started getting dementia.  Then, I saw an article that said that Benadryl creates problems with short-term memory.  Voila, problem solved!  By that time my stress was down and I just had to work on other things that affected my sleep.


Tips for better sleep:

  1. Establish a rhythm of sleep, go to bed at the same time nightly and get up at the same time.
  2. Take short naps if you missed sleep the night before (20 minutes is optimal)
  3. Supplement your Vitamin D (if you aren’t sure, have a blood test and get it checked…then supplement it)
  4. Get some sunshine during the day
  5. Get exercise during the day
  6. Turn off your television, computer, and Ipad at night
  7. Turn lights down at night
  8. Have a comfortable bed
  9. Block noise out
  10. Block light out
  11. Make sure your bedroom is cool
  12. No caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep
  13. No large meals (especially beef) before bed
  14. No alcohol
  15. No smoking
  16. Learn relaxation techniques
  17. deep breathing
  18. muscle relaxation (like biofeedback where you progress through your body)
  19. envisioning your peaceful place

I am an expert on getting back to sleep.  Over the years, this has been my challenge.  Yet, I confessed earlier to getting on my Ipad and checking Facebook.  That would be a no-no.  For me, it is relaxing.  I can tell you one of the most tempting things to do is watching television.  Don’t even go there, sometimes it relaxes, more often it stimulates, and for me, even more often, I end up watching television until it is time to get up because I get caught up in a movie.

  1. whatever you are thinking about when you wake up…empty it out of your head by substituting thoughts.
  2. relax…don’t even think about falling back asleep, think about relaxing and take the pressure off
  3. if you have to, get up and do something for a few minutes to break things up.  Stay away from the television and computer…more like reading a book or article

One last word…on sleeping pills.  You already heard my story on Benadryl.  I will share my experience with Lunesta and Flurazepam.  I had a doctor when I was going through big hormonal changes, who gave me sleeping pills.  He said to take no more than 3 nights to get you back in the rhythm, then quit taking them.  If you are not inclined to addiction, this can be a lifesaver.  DO NOT TAKE sleeping pills for more than 3 days.  Even if they say they are non-addictive, they are.  The sleeping pills that are “non-addictive” (Lunesta) are still addictive in a different way, that is that you can not sleep without them.  If you can avoid sleeping pills all together, you should.  I was taking the “non-addictive” type sleeping pill about 10 years ago.  I could not sleep without them.  To get off them, I took my Flurazepam and went on a cruise.  (We were lucky enough to get yearly trips for free from fabric and blind companies!)  I took the Flurazepam for one night.  Then I figured that I was not going to need to perform for 8 days…so I went cold turkey.  You don’t get any kind of withdrawal…you just don’t sleep.  I thought I could sleep whenever I had a chance and I didn’t really have to be nice to anyone and the world would not end if I made a mistake.  It worked.  There was one thing I hadn’t figured in that helped, the relaxation of the trip.  That helped and by the end of the trip, I was not taking any sleeping pills.

I quit taking sleeping pills altogether in 2009.  By changing the way that I eat, getting lots of exercise and being more aware of the things I do, I have eliminated my sleep problems entirely!  ….Well, except when I have things in business and life that I get really excited about.

A couple months ago, I got a new bed, thanks to Tomorrow Sleep.  There is a sleep monitor on it.  I’m still really loving the comfort of the bed, the sheets, and the comforter.  I could do without the monitor now.  My husband is obsessing over it and I think that it’s possibly causing him to wake up more.

You may find it interesting to know that I’m back in school now too.  I’m going through the course to become a Naturopathic Doctor.  I should probably do a blog on all the legal drugs you can take to help you to find immediate relief or results to almost anything.  I’ve probably taken them.  I’ve also suffered the physical consequences.  not all drugs are bad….but I can give you a list that would just mess you up in more ways than you can imagine.  A lot of them affect your sleep.  If you feel like you need a sleeping pill, just say no.  Try the things I suggested here and find a Naturopath to help you if all that doesn’t help.

What are some of the sleep challenges you have had?  How do you get to sleep?  Share it below!  I can’t wait to hear!


1 Comment

  1. imtiyaz

    Very Helpful Article. now I can sleep better.

    thank you Cathy Sykora


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