I’m speaking at SOMNEX The Sleep Show 13th/14th Oct 2018

During the writing of my NEW sleep book I was also contacted by SOMNEX The Sleep Show, and invited to speak as The Sleep Coach, and to offer one-to-one walk-in sleep clinic during the show! I will be there throughout the event, if you go to their website below you’ll be able to find out more details about the show, who all the speakers are including myself, what days they are speaking and when, I hope to see some of you there on the day. 

As a speaker I can offer you a fantastic 40% off. Visitor tickets are currently £20 but if you enter the promo code: SPK40 when you book herehttps://bit.ly/2MdFI21you can get a ticket for just £12!

Visit SOMNEX | The Sleep Show on Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 October (10am til 6pm) at The Old Truman Brewery in London.

Get exclusive access to expert advice, innovative new products, specialist exhibitors, multiple interactive workshops and immersive classes – all designed to help you understand how to improve your sleep and give you and your family a fun day out!

 

Visit www.somnexshow.com

Instagram: @somnexshow

Twitter: @somnexshow

Facebook: @SOMNEXshow

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/somnex-the-sleep-show

 

As always I wish you a great night sleep,

Max

Does pain keep you awake at night?

Pain management for better sleep.

You will need to work out if your lack of sleep is causing your pain? or if the pain is causing a lack of sleep? Then focus on whichever came first.

Not sleeping properly can not only magnify but sometimes even generate pain signals.

However, if you are one of those people who has either had a long term health issue causing you to find sleep difficult, broken and intermittent, Or, if you have had surgery, or any musculoskeletal, neurological or naturopathic pain signals that you’ve already probably been searching for an alternative to opiate based addictive pain medication, usually containing a form of codeine that can cause unpleasant physical dependency even sometimes from short and long-term use.
There are also other painkillers, often synthetic like oxycodone, and tramadol amongst others that can equally be fine for short-term use, but the body soon adapts to the presence of the substance and if one stops taking the drug abruptly, withdrawal symptoms occur. Often, apart from unwanted constipation, night sweats hot and cold, there must be a better and more natural non-addictive way to deal with pain. Also avoid paracetamol tablets with caffeine which reduce sleep ability and all nicotine products at night.
Here are a few of my suggestions to help reduce the need for powerful addictive pain drugs to achieve better sleep.
Firstly, here in the UK it’s possible to buy an over-the-counter product called Nuromol containing a blend of paracetamol and ibuprofen. Always read the label and follow the instructions as paracetamol can only be taken as directed, however, mixed with ibuprofen its effectiveness is greatly multiplied. Therefore taking these just before bed and having another dosage if required later on in the night by the bed with a glass of water can greatly help improve/ reduce pain signals that can make deep sleep elusive.
Secondly, one of the rules of the mind, is that what ever you focus your mind on it becomes magnified. As a sleepcoach, I train my clients to focus elsewhere, either the different parts of the body, the feeling of relaxation which also greatly reduces pain signals, as well as learning how to release tension with breath and then physically feeling the benefits can help greatly
Another rule of the mind, is that whatever you try not to think about, is what you actually think about. Understanding this simple truth, and instead focusing intensely on other things like perhaps your head on the pillow, how comfortable you can get in your bed, feeling increasingly more than thinking, shifting the attention off of the thought of pain signals, focusing on relaxing and mild discomfort until the non-addictive pain medication kicks in helps greatly.
There are obviously times when pain signals for some are so great that the quality of deep sleep seems almost impossible to achieve, however the discomfort from recent surgery, or recent injury, or digestive and inner organ problems, and so on make the acceptance of the pain, and a commitment to at least relax and achieve as much rest as possible even if sleep is almost impossible, will at least help to alleviate some of the horrific alarm signals that the sleep deprived suffer. Any relaxation, distraction from the discomfort, will make these usually challenging times more bearable until the short-term pain spike reduces.
Relaxation and acceptance are two of the most important keys to better sleep pain management, if not discomfort reduction and control. At my sleep clinic in central London, where I treat insomniacs, and all anxiety and pain related sleep problems this is the first thing I teach.
Sleep medications that can helpful include over-the-counter drugs that have a sedating effect, like antihistamines, or combination pain reliever and sleep aids, such as Paracetamol or Tylenol PM if in the US. Prescription sleep medications should only be for short term use. Always discuss pain and sleep medications with your doctor, MD, GP, or pharmacist.
Learn how to rest and to relax deeply, until good sleep becomes possible.
Remember that good sleep is a key to curing chronic pain.

As always wishing you better sleep,

Max Kirsten

A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

Ear plugs are like cars, there are just so many different types!

Not all insomnia and sleep problems are caused by anxiety. When I go through my MOT Sleep Survey to identify the root causes of a clients sleep difficulties, it will often identify either hyper-sensitivity to sound, with an external stimulus issue like the sounds outside; cars, trains, or even aeroplanes; or their neighbours above or next door, the dawn chorus, or their partner’s snoring, or just the sounds of their breathing and so on… babies, children and pets etc… This leads me often to my A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

If hyper-sensitivity to sound is at the root of their not being able to sleep deeply, or for as long as they would like because they keep being woken by sound. I usually recommend a variety of sleep earplugs based on various relevant parameters. Often my clients say they have already tried earplugs and that they didn’t work either because they didn’t block out the sound they wanted to block out. Or, that they were too big and uncomfortable, and often, they said that they didn’t like wearing earplugs because they live alone (most often women living alone with safety issues), or that even though outside noises bothered them, because they have a baby, child or even several children, that they weren’t comfortable blocking out all noise in case of a child based emergency.

All of these reasons of course, are totally valid, although not in my opinion the end of the conversation. There were still essential reasons to explore the various possibilities and solutions to help noise sensitive poor sleepers.

In my deep and varied Sleep Coach tool box, I keep a variety of different earplugs and much more…

My A to Z of Sleep Earplugs collection includes:

1, Very narrow foam ear plugs ideal mostly for people (usually women) who have narrower ear canals or tunnels – excellent sound reduction 36db.

2, Parental ear plugs. These are special attenuated ear plugs which reduce the outside sounds of traffic etc, but still allows the sound of babies and children for parents wanting better sleep but also needing to be able to still hear their children and babies if needed – sound reduction 24 db

3, Various shaped 3-tier Silicone ear plugs (hyper allergenic – medical grade) with various noise reducing densities 22 db upwards.

4, And a vast array of earplugs that vary in shape, size and sound reduction. I also have thicker earplugs of various foam densities that can totally block out up to 46 dB of sound – making lorries, noisy neighbours, or being under the flight path of noisy planes… to lying next to the worlds loudest snorer.

5, There are also a number of hi-tech solutions with incredible noise cancelling properties or even a sound bubble gadget with a noise exclusion zone containing and blocking out your partners snoring that are also most definitely worth exploring if quietness is a priceless commodity. Some of this kit can cost a lot more than good foam ear plugs though!

6, For snorers in a relationship sharing the same bed, there are also a number of other very simple nasal options worth considering if you and your partner want to achieve better sleep. There is a special plastic insert that opens the nose channels wider. There are also a number of pillows and sleep positions that help to reduce problem snoring. There are many options to explore before surgery, sleeping next door or even eventually spitting up.

7, For noisy neighbours there are a number of sound insulation boards for floors, walls, ceilings and doors to explore as well.

So visit a good sleep coach to help you to explore all the various possibilities to reduce or eliminate unwanted sounds.

I hope you found my A to Z of Sleep Earplugs useful to solve any sound issues.

As usual I wish you a really great night’s sleep.

Max Kirsten

Blinkist interview with The Sleep Coach

Blinkist Podcast Bonus: A “How-To-Sleep” Talk with The Sleep Coach – Max Kirsten,

In this special bonus edition of the Blinkist Podcast, we talk to sleep specialist Max Kirsten. Max is a clinical hypnotherapist and an award winning sleep coach, and he’s worked with stars like Adele and Ewan McGregor.

In the podcast, Max and Ben delve into topics like the right position for optimal sleep, how one even becomes a sleep specialist, the problems some of his most difficult patients experience, and much more. This is a perfect follow-up to the first sleep-themed episode, which featured Arianna Huffington speaking about her new book The Sleep Revolution, and how we’re killing ourselves with bad sleep hygiene.

(P.S. if you don’t already know, Blinkist is an app that condenses the key ideas of 1,500+ nonfiction books — the best ones in the world, actually — into beautiful, powerful little mobile reads that help you learn more, read more, and explore more than ever).


Blinkist Podcast with Sleep Expert Max Kirsten

Transcript

Max Kirsten: Hi Ben, thank you for inviting me to come on the show.

Ben Schuman-Stoler: Thanks for coming on the show, this is great. This is our second sleep expert!

MK: How’s your sleep, are we going to talk about yours or are we going to avoid that?

BSS: We can try, but I have to say, especially in the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty good. I’ve been bringing a lot of stuff home, of like, getting the cell phones out –

MK: You’re doing your sleep hygiene!

BSS: I am, I’m all about it.

MK: That’s good! And have you got any devices? We’re in the 21st century so I think devices are kind of cool to have but the people that sleep the best don’t need devices, they don’t need anything, just sleep don’t they?

BSS: Which kind of devices do you mean?

MK: Well, there’s a whole bunch of these gadgets, you know, you can be wearing your fitbits, or you can have things actually fit to the bed under all the pillows. I’m fascinated by all this stuff but I have to say I’m quite keen to keep the technology to a minimum, generally. That said, when I get some of this stuff I’ll be trying it all out and my room will be like a techno jungle.

BSS: I actually did write down, one my questions is, do you use any of the new tech for sleep? And then I wrote down besides your own app, but your app isn’t a sleep app, right? It’s for quitting smoking.

MK: Actually my sleep app — which I took down last year — I had two — I took them down and I’m re-packaging them at the moment. I also have a free one that people download which is 20 minutes to fall asleep. Really nice thing to listen to. But the real question is — I don’t listen to myself. There’s something a bit weird about listening to yourself.

BSS: You mean you don’t put yourself to sleep?

MK: I do, but I don’t listen to myself to do it.

BSS: Who do you listen to?

MK: I don’t listen to anyone. I do a sequence and you can ask me about that.

BSS: You have your own routine, right?

MK: That’s true. Before I became a sleep coach I suffered from sleep difficulties, I would hesitate to say insomnia but I certainly would say it looked like insomnia, it sounded like insomnia and probably was. It was semi-infrequent but I found that going to bed was beginning to be something that I didn’t look forward to. I treat lots of people with insomnia now, anxiety-related sleep conditions. And I would lie in bed trying to figure out how can I fall asleep? Why am I still awake? What do I need to do? So I originally set out to conquer that for myself and in the process of looking at everything, listening to everything, I was also training to become a clinical hypnotherapist and in the process of all of this I discovered how to relax at a very deep somatic level and that became a part of it. I then created a blend of techniques that I’ve distilled into something that I call the ABC of Better Sleep but is basically a sequence that you can do not to try to sleep — because that’s always the thing with people with sleep difficulties, they try to sleep, and people who sleep well never try to sleep — trying to sleep is the worst thing you could ever do. Same thing as trying to relax or even trying not to think of the color red. It’s not helpful.

You know, I used to be a person that woke up in the night. Lots of people either have trouble falling asleep, which was one of my issues — thinking too much — but I almost invariably used to wake up in the middle of the night and it would be like UGH and it can be the loneliest place in the world. You wake up in the night and you feel like everyone on this side of the planet is already unconscious. And then I now have this thing that I do and I think of it more as a game, it’s a technique but it’s a pleasurable process that feels like a game. So that even if I get out of bed if I’m not annoyed. I actually look forward to getting back into the bed, and getting comfortable. that’s the starting point of the sequence that I teach people.

BSS: So let’s break this down. You mentioned suffering. You said you were suffering, you didn’t wanna call it insomnia but it looked like insomnia. It’s an interesting word because Arianna Huffington also used that word a lot and said there’s so much unneeded suffering that we’re doing to ourselves, so why did you use that word in particular?

MK: Arianna’s great — I wish I could talk to her with you I’m a big fan of her book — but I agree. We’re doing this to ourselves. We’re not even aware of the effect of everything coming in. You know, caffeine is interesting. I like caffeine but there’s a time we should be phasing it out (and there are some people it doesn’t agree with). Towards the evening the last caffeine most of us should be having should be approximately eight hours before bed at least. Because otherwise the effects of it are going to still be there when you want to sleep. And I can think of plenty of times when I sat in a nice restaurant with some nice friends, maybe it’s Friday night after a busy week and someone says would you like to have coffee now after your meal and someone says, “Oh yeah,” and before you know it we’re all ordering espressos! I think maybe people in the US are a little bit ahead of that now but I have to say a couple of my friends quite happily have a coffee before bed. These are the things we do to ourselves, I think at our peril. I mean look, coffee and devices is only two small elements of what can lead to having sleep difficulties. But I think anxiety, the worries of all that’s happening in our ever-changing world, and I think if sleep hygiene is a new kind of subject, I think veering away from most of the national news towards bedtime is no bad thing.

BSS: So say something about what sleep hygiene really kind of is, because it’s a weird term. I don’t think everybody — or people who aren’t familiar with your work or this trend of talking about sleep — what is sleep hygiene and how do you make a good one?

MK: Well you’re right, Ben, it isn’t what everyone’s aware of. Perhaps only the people with sleep difficulties. I assume everybody’s a sleep coach or everyone is seeing one and of course there are lots of people who sleep wonderfully. They get into bed and can even sleep in a car park or in a queue — some people can sleep anywhere — and there are people who have difficulties. And the first thing is to eliminate the externals, which can be contributing to sleep issues. Sometimes it’s the last thing that people realize. I’ve just been doing a sleep clinic in London here, in Shoreditch, something called a pop-up nap station as sleep ambassador for Eve Sleep who –

BSS: You know, they sent us a mattress!

MK: Oh they did?!

BSS: Yeah we had a little nap station in the office. They’re great.

MK: So that would be one of the sleep hygiene questions: What do you sleep on? What’s the room like? What’s the light like? That’s a big one. Do you have a dark room? How dark is it? Some people have, they like the light to come through the window at dawn. Some people rise at dawn and sort of go to bed when sun sets except they don’t because they’re on devices. So you know, limiting lights — ideally black. The brain makes melatonin as the evening progresses — it’s the hormone that regulates the main sleep cycle and that’s why coming away from screens, reducing light, lowering the light down so that the eyes which really do two things, of course we see with our eyes but they’re one of two parts of the body with multiple function, the eyes are also a light meter and we’re not aware of this but the optic nerve is regulating and measuring the amount of light that’s coming through and as it senses that it’s getting dimmer and dimmer it’s telling the body that it must be the time to begin to make melatonin, more and more of it, for sleep. So winding down is important but I think having as much black or at least very darkened room — I personally go for total, extreme black I like to put on an eye mask, it has this foam edge around it so that zero light comes around the side of my eye mask. If someone opened the blinds and there’d be streaming light around me, I’d be in total black, unaware of the new day until I decide that I’m ready for the new day.

BSS: Wow, I have a colleague who says he sleeps with the curtains open because the sun wakes him up naturally, he doesn’t use an alarm –

MK: Well I think that’s actually wonderful, the romance of that is wonderful. As a parent and as a hard working adult, and I do work hard, and I struggle, and if I was to just have no curtains and be waking up at, I don’t know, at the moment sunrise in London is around 4:30–5:00 in the morning. If I’m up at that time and yeah I’m an early bird but I think I’m more of an owl. I could force myself to do it, all the things to get ready to do, my son to get to school, and then work. I’m not quite sure what happens later in the evening! I certainly can’t go to bed when the sun sets, that’s for sure, and I can’t live by the circadian rhythms of just sunrise and sunset. But there are those who can do it and if they’re sleeping well and they can get up at the sunrise, I admire that.

BSS: So what about somebody like a snoozer, someone who has trouble getting up or is always groggy, or constantly hitting the snooze button?

MK: OK, I think it’s interesting with snoozing as opposed to napping, napping is something you take in the afternoons and preferably for no longer than 30 minutes, 20 minutes tops. I’d love to talk to you about napping in a moment. But the snoozer is wanting that little more, is not quite satisfied, maybe they weren’t sleeping that well earlier and they just wanna try — the ones I see anyway — they’re the ones who kept waking in the night and lay there for extra hour, tormented, and finally when they do fall asleep they so don’t want to get up if they can help it. It’s usually a sign of an unsatisfied night’s sleep. I now have come around to the realization of just how extraordinary sleep really is so you know I’m all for napping I’m all for snoozing but you know I think napping is an area now and certainly in business, I do more and more lectures with corporations and the city and companies for their staff and this whole new era of napping — the idea of having 20 minutes at work would have been unthinkable 10–15 years ago. Bosses would’ve thought just forget it, it’s an interruption with the work day. But now that there’s some real research, people who take short naps perform at a much higher level — are you familiar with the coffee nap?

BSS: I’ve only read about it. I haven’t done one.

MK: Ok it’s something that came out of some research and this is one of the reasons why we set up the nap station in East London — although part of it was so that people could come see the various beds and things as well — but these pods, and they’re setting them up more and more and I was reading about it in Arianna’s book as well — the zeitgeist really is to make this time for staff it’s better for their overall health, you know a 30-minute nap boosts your immune system and some extraordinary things happen. It’s counterintuitive, but the idea of having a small coffee before taking a nap. I mean I wouldn’t have even thought that — it’s madness — there’s research about how if you have a little coffee and then a nap, it takes time for the caffeine to be absorbed, and during the nap your brain is having a chance to do its cleansing process — I’ll talk about that in a second — and then the caffeine sneaks it in about 20 minutes and by the time you awaken — as long as long as it’s not more than 20–30 minutes — you feel more refreshed and more able to do whatever it is you were going to do. Your cognitive function is improved. They were doing this research and the purpose of it was to see if a light sleep if you’re driving would make you a better driver, whether having a coffee and then a break would make you a better driver. It turned out that having a coffee and a short nap made you a better driver and that’s where the research comes. But it’s very interesting, and someone’s just recently coined this — I wish I had said it but I’ll say it to you first because I’ve doubt you’ve heard it: nappuccino.

Although personally I think I prefer something like a flat nap.

BSS: Right, a flat wink.

MK: Exactly and you don’t even necessarily need to nap everyday but for those who’ve been sleep deprived, let’s say you’re jet-lagged or you were up all night at a party, a nap is going to reset you. It’s a very powerful thing.

BSS: So when I mentioned to my colleagues that I was talking to a sleep coach, a sleep expert, and someone who does it professionally, they were like, that’s impossible, that’s not a real thing. And I said of course it is, you know, why not? There’s mindfulness training, there’s all sorts of training to make us better people. How did you do that? How did you end up being a sleep specialist? What do you call yourself? Do you call yourself a sleep specialist? A sleep coach?

MK: I refer to myself as a sleep coach, I’ve been called sleep expert, I mean I’ve learned how not to sleep to become expert at that. But as a sleep coach, part of my training I did here in London with the London Sleep Center with the help of Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim, the consulting psychiatrist for sleep there, and I’ve been on various courses, I looked at CBTI, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, I’ve looked at various methodologies, sleep medicine — I am generally against medications although sometimes people come to see me with all sorts of things they’ve been taking — but the goal to me in my ethos is to help people get natural sleep. To get away from all the pills and to get into a much cleaner way to approach sleep and to relax and to then enjoy it.

BSS: So you studied it. But why was it so personally interesting to you?

MK: Well because I came from a position of having had insomnia myself and then in the process of my work as a clinical hypnotherapist — I was seeing more and more people for anxiety-related sleep difficulties and insomnia that I found that just hypnotizing people to have better sleep wasn’t broad enough to help them to overcome the full issue, the full picture. So then I started to blend teaching people how to do self-hypnosis and combined it with some of the other things that I’ve discovered, autogenic sleep training, and a mindfulness-based one that I like to teach. And I developed these in the course of developing my sleep programs that are on my website. And I had several apps, the sleep programs I was developing several years ago, that have won awards both in the US and over here for helping people sleep –

BSS: I listened to The ABCs of Sleep.

MK: You did? You didn’t tell me that.

BSS: Well yeah, that’s how I got all my questions, you know?

MK: So you’ve been learning the A and the B and the C?

BSS: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about relaxing the eyelids but you know you got to let the conversation flow.

MK: Well let’s talk about it.

BSS: We can talk about it. But I’m curious about both. I like hearing about your techniques, but I’m also really interested in the patients you see — and what’s the most difficult sleeping case you’ve had? Can we talk about that, too?

MK: What was great about doing the thing at the nap station actually is that it was the first time I’ve ever had like a walk-in sleep clinic. So you know people were queuing up on the Saturdays I was there and I had people who had parasomnias, people who would wake up in the night paralyzed and terrified they couldn’t move, that was a usual one, because you know some people don’t sleep very deeply for a number of different reasons that have to be identified but when we sleep there are different phases of sleep and the REM phase, which is the dreaming and rapid eye movement phase of sleep, is also interestingly when we are the most physically disconnected, paralyzed, from hurting ourselves in bed while we’re dreaming. So you don’t knock things off the table or punch the wall. So when people are in this sleep state, this phase, it is possible, particularly if they’re not going into deep state at all in the first place, there are things like, even alcohol interferes with sleep architecture, but some people just pop up almost mid-dream. They’re still dreaming but they open their eyes and they know they’re in bed but they also find that they don’t seem to be able to move. And for some even, bits of the dream are seeping into their waking experience it’s very unusual but it can be quite alarming.

BSS: What’s this called again?

MK: This is one of the parasomnias. It’s a waking paralysis and rather than being completely alarmed by it, which is easy if you never had it happen to you, is to understand it first of all. To know am I dreaming am I awake and to know that you can go back to sleep or even — I’ve had it, it can be in a nightmare, it’s not one of the best — we’re talking about some of the more unusual and extreme ends of what I do. Another lady who’s seeing me at the moment awakes every half an hour and we’ve eliminated almost everything that it could possibly be and she’s been to see lots of people before she came to me and the only thing that we can truly identify is that she has a lot of anxiety, very low level, all of the time. And it means that she finds it almost impossible to get to deep sleep because she’s got very higher levels of adrenal stress cortisol that makes it very difficult to fully truly completely relax and let go. The autonomic nervous system is in two parts, and the sympathetic, which sounds wonderful, has all to do with stress, fight or flight and life’s challenges, and the parasympathetic is when we feel safe and relaxed. Sometimes people see me for IBS or digestive problems and they often have these problems because they’re constantly in the sympathetic stress state and teaching people how to relax and let go and to re-set the autonomic nervous system back to the middle really, because some have autonomic nervous system imbalance which is if you like why this lady was finding it so hard to sleep — because of her physiology. So she’s going through a relaxation program daily as well as at night so she can begin to create regularly, throughout the whole day, a training for her to get physical relaxation and also I’m helping her to overcome her anxious thinking, because thoughts are the ones that cause the chemicals in the first place.

BSS: So let’s take this case again. Can you use your — I wanted to talk about eyelid relaxation that you talk about in The ABCs of Sleep — so like can you use that for this kind of case, this woman? Or is it the kind of thing that’s too kind of general to help her.

MK: Absolutely, and I taught her to use the ABC technique which in its cutdown version is to relax your eyelids to the point where they feel so relaxed they won’t work and then to spread the relaxation through the B, the breath, through the body. To take her to the point where she’s beginning to feel more and more deeply calm and relaxed. That’s the first place to get to. If, on the other hand, your mind is constantly in a circular motion looking for things to be worried about, the next thing to go wrong, then it’s probably highly likely that these people take that to bed with them. If they’re already in a sort of hyper-vigilant state and dreading going to bed because of another night of waking up every half an hour — doesn’t make you want to go to bed does it — so the combination of sleep dread (or not-sleep dread actually), there need to be a re-programming. Learning how to relax is part of it. Learning mindful you know CBT, really, mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to understand and to recognize when one is thinking this stuff again and again and to observe it rather than just be in it and to see these thoughts like clouds and to be more interested in the sky between the clouds and to recognize that these thoughts are what make us feel let’s say negative and therefore anxious and the feelings that go with that.

BSS: It’s like you have to take a step back, be objective about your own thoughts?

MK: Step back, and see almost as though your thoughts are coming in a loop by habit rather than even just consciously deciding to have anxious thoughts. Half of my work is to get people to wake up and to snap out of negative loops and mind patterns, to become more present. And the other half of my work — and this is how I became a sleep coach — is helping people to let go and become unconscious. It’s the most wonderful process. It’s so undervalued, sleep, I mean I think of sleep as a spiritual experience, it’s a subjective thing, but I think of sleep as when we let go into the universe, I think of sleep as well as the letting go process about getting out of the way, it’s nothing to do, it’s just a wonderful opportunity to just release and to let go into the safety of relaxation that takes you away to let’s just say the C of dreams. I say the C of comfort that leads to the sea of dreams.

BSS: Right and it’s very calming, unfortunately I listened during the day so I couldn’t go all the way into relax mode if you know what I mean.

Well let’s see what I got. We could do a quick-fire round? You want to do a quick-fire? Let’s do five.

MK: OK.

BSS: Alright here we go, quick-fire round, number one: what’s the most common lie about sleep that we see in our daily lives?

MK: Wow, what’s the most common lie that we see in our daily lives?

BSS: Or what do you find yourself most commonly having to debunk?

MK: Ok that’s interesting. I’m trying to think of the best way to answer the question. That somehow there’s some magic trick to sleep. Some people are ritualistic. I mean, I think routine is good, but the idea that you’ve always got to do one thing — I think sleep is effortless. There’s nothing to do!

BSS: There’s no silver bullet.

MK: There’s no silver bullet and in fact we’re all different so anyone who tells you the best way is this, it’s flawed from the moment they say it because we’re not all the same.

BSS: Number 2: is there a healthiest sleep position, like side sleeping, belly sleeping?

MK: Without a doubt the side is the very best way both for the position of the spine but also it seems that when we sleep or even nap that the side position is the side that helps for the cerebral spinal fluid in the brain to cleanse itself better.

BSS: OK — does it matter left or right?

MK: It’s an interesting question, I think it doesn’t really matter because nobody just sleeps on one side. If you look at any time-lapse photography people are on their back or side, all those things but I think predominantly that the best side to sleep on from a physiology point of view, I understand, is on the left side and that has to do with the blood pressure and the fact that your heart is slightly to the left and by sleeping on your left side predominantly, it is better for your physiology and I believe it means you’re slightly less likely to have things like heart attacks and strokes. Not to worry anybody.

BSS: All these stomachs sleepers just had a freakout.

MK: It’s interesting about stomach sleepers. Stomach and on-their-face sleepers are the ones who are most likely to grind their teeth.

BSS: Really?

MK: Yeah because they’re kind of putting their head onto their jaw, into their face. When I work with people who have you know tooth grinding, one of the techniques is to get people to sleep with their airwaves open, head slightly tilted back so the jaw naturally falls away from the teeth. It seems completely unnatural for someone who’s not used to that but between that and I like to use hypnotherapy for teeth grinding as well, I find that’s the best way of making the change so they don’t destroy their teeth.

BSS: Alright, number 3: pillows. Best pillow, does it matter?

MK: Well I think pillows are very subjective, I think if you sleep on your face, if that’s the way you have to do it, you want to have a soft pillow because you don’t want to be having your head completely tilted back if you’re sleeping on your face, but I think that side sleepers would benefit from a reasonably firm pillow — the Eve Sleep ones are unbelievably amazing, but there are others.

BSS: Alright, number 4: how does it affect us to sleep outside? Is there a difference between sleeping outside or inside?

MK: That’s a good question, I like that. I recently went camping with my son and I certainly think there’s a big difference and I was sleeping in this tent and I haven’t been camping for decades and it wasn’t quite summer yet so nights were very very cool and the coldness of the air on my face at that time of year wasn’t for me ideal but I did vaguely sleep. Honestly I couldn’t wait to get home to the luxury of my bedroom. I personally think sleep is for sleeping, the less disturbances there are, minimum light, definitely the room should become slightly cooler as the evening progresses when you fall asleep. Ideally a cooler room when you fall asleep. I mean sleeping out on the patio or on the roof if you’ve got a roof terrace, at a certain part of year in the middle of a heat wave, could be fantastic, but I wouldn’t recommend it all year.

BSS: Sub question: when you went camping did you bring your mask thing that closed out all light?

MK: Very good question. You know what? I so did.

BSS: Yeah?

MK: Here I have a sleep box with a number, not all my masks are the same. I have probably ten different kinds, not all ear plugs are the same I have more than ten. There are even ear plugs for women, different sizes and widths, you know channels are usually narrower for women or when they want to hear their kids or certain sounds but the one I like, with the foam, that one I took with me and I was definitely glad when I was in my freezing cold tent with my son. That was the one luxury, other than the fact that I like to wear sleep socks which I know is odd but I’m very tall and it helps circulation to my feet. It’s one of the things that people with sleep difficulties — and they actually have cold feet! Sometimes I go through all the different questions around the environment and physiology just to find out people have cold feet when they sleep.

BSS: There’s a Seinfeld episode with George and Jerry are in a hotel room for some reason and Jerry likes to, he’s a feet tucker, he likes to keep his feet tucked, and George likes to kick off the blankets. You can add that in your next book or do some kind of deep analysis.

MK: That’s great. I’ll have to research it. Did you say George was the feet tucker?

BSS: I think Jerry was the feet tucker.

MK: So George likes to kick his feet out, so George probably then doesn’t want to wear sleep socks either because he likes the air circulating.

BSS: Right.

MK: My wife is warmer than me, she likes to kick the covers off but I still like to keep the covers on the lower half of the bed so my feet stay warm. GOD we all have these weird variations! It’s amazing anyone can sleep the night with anyone else!

BSS: Alright so last one: what’s the one rule for sleeping? Like, Huffington has one rule: no phones in the bedroom. Hands down.

MK: Let’s just assume that’s a given. Although there are lots of people who like to have their iPhone apps measuring and Fitbits and such and I’m not sure how to reconcile that but ultimately good sleep you don’t need devices. You can use them to learn to sleep better but it’s like nobody should listen to recordings every night, it’s just learning. Once you get past all of that, and assuming there’s no phones or electronics around you then I would say the number one rule is never try to sleep. Sleep is effortless, you never try to sleep, you relax, you get out the way and by getting out of the way, that’s the way sleep happens: you relax and let go.

BSS: That’s a perfect ending!


Very Important Links

More stuff to read on Sleep, Productivity, The Future, and more over onBlinkist Magazine, and our treasure trove of 1,500+ nonfiction books-in-brief at Blinkist.com.

Sleep Insomnia breathing techniques

If you can’t sleep? If you suffer from sleep insomnia? If you just have difficulties falling asleep? Here are two simple breathing techniques that can help you to relax and begin to drift off…

Firstly, learn how to use the “4-7-8 breathing technique”.

The 4-7-8 sleep breathing technique

Originally developed and pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil in the US. The technique is very simple, in fact deceptively simple. It involves your breathing to various counts of 4, 7 and 8. It enables your lungs to fill with oxygen, and helps to calm the mind and to relax the muscles in your body, and your nervous system helping to reduce tension as you exhale.

This technique has been described as a natural tranquilliser. The technique is simple, takes almost no time, requires no special equipment and can be done almost ANYWHERE!

In order to do this technique correctly it’s important to understand that the key elements.

Firstly when doing the 4-7-8 breathing technique you will always be breathing in through your nose.

Then while you are doing this, you will have placed your top of your tongue against the front of your upper palate just behind your teeth, held against your upper gum. With your tongue held in position for 4 and 7 you will breathe in through your nose for four seconds, and then keeping your tongue in place, you will hold your breath seven seconds, and then with a “whooshing” sound you then exhale, pushing the breath out powerfully through your mouth for eight seconds. so that your lips make a “Phhhh” sound.

Then you will repeat the 4-7-8 technique again placing your tongue back against the back against the upper gum, and breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath of seven seconds your tongue still against the back of your upper gum behind the teeth, before releasing the breath with the wooshing sound “Phhhh…” from your mouth slowly for eight seconds.

*Note: you always inhaled quietly through your nose, hold and exhale audibly through your mouth with a “Phhhhhh…” whooshing sound.

Repeating this 4-7-8 breathing technique three or four times will be enough to relax and slow you down completely if done correctly. It helps to release all inner body tension.

Doing this in fact relaxes the para-sympathetic nervous system, the oxygen calming you, and helping you to feel more connected to your body – whilst at the same time distracting you from your everyday thoughts that can disrupt falling asleep.

This technique is also very good for reducing anxiety. Dr Weil says that if you practice this technique twice a day, for six weeks until you’ve mastered enough to be able to fall asleep in just 60 seconds.

Here’s another simple breathing technique to help you fall asleep. This one is called the Bumble Bee sleep technique, it’s very simple but really only works if you sleep alone as you’re likely to annoy or disturbed whoever is with you whilst doing it.

The Bumble Bee Sleep Technique.

This technique is very simple, easy to do, and really quite extraordinary.

1, You just close your mouth, and breath in through your nose.

2, Then while keeping your mouth closed, you then hum like a bumblebee as you breath out through the nose for as long as possible for about 5 mins.

The vibration that you create whilst humming and exhaling both at the same time is very relaxing to the nervous system. It can help reduce your blood pressure, and help rebalance serotonin levels, you will begin to feel more relaxed. It also helps you to stop reacting to all your thoughts.

The Bumble Bee Sleep technique helps change your brain waves from lifestyle busy beta moving towards relaxing nourishing theta brainwaves. This is definitely the most unusual breathing techniques that I have ever found to help you to naturally fall asleep and overcome any insomnia. Research says that if you practice this for at least five minutes continuously, the body’s nervous system will start to settle down. Most people don’t sleep because they are “overthinking the overthinking”, and are unable to unwind and relax with a busy mind.

These two techniques I hope will be enjoyable and useful for Zzzz…

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

Max Kirsten

How many hours of sleep do you need for optimal health?

how-many-hours-of-sleep

I’m often asked how many hours of sleep a night is the right amount for good health? Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and these figures may surprise you. When we are babies we need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep a night. When we are toddlers between the three and five years old we need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a night. Between the ages of six and thirteen we need between 9 and 11 hours sleep. In our early teenage years between 14 to 17 years old, we need ideally 8 to 10 hours sleep a night. From age 18 until we are 64 years old we need between 7 and 9 hours sleep. And when we are over 65 we need between 7 and 8 hours sleep.

How many hours of sleep do you need for different age groups?

How many hours of sleep do you need for optimal health?

Obviously these are the ideal recommended hours for each age group, and certainly many of us particularly in our younger years consider this much sleep almost excessive. Research shows that when we are not getting enough sleep not only does our health begins to suffer, cognitive impairment occurs making it hard to do certain things, often lack of sleep causes emotional imbalances, and less than six hours sleep is considered to be a recipe for health problems in later life, such as increased chances of having a stroke, cancer, and generally stress-related illnesses.

How too many hours of sleep can harm your health

However, new research from the University of Cambridge also shows that if we’re getting too much sleep for example over 8 hours – if you are over 40 you have an increased chance (46%) of having a stroke at that end of the sleep spectrum as well. Over sleeping has been linked to a host of health problems, including diabetes and obesity. But then obesity has been linked to not getting enough sleep, under six hours regularly.

The power of napping

The good sleep health news is that taking half-hour naps (often these days called power naps) has been shown to reverse all the damage caused by poor quality, or shorter than ideal sleep patterns. scientists in France recently showed that sleep deprived adults who power nap rebalanced their immune systems, restoring noradrenaline levels to normal. Napping if we are unable to get that ideal scientifically proven amount of sleep for our age group helps our bodies rebalance metabolic, hormonal and immune homoeostasis. In other words, napping is good for you and improves mind and body performance when a good nights sleep isn’t always possible.

Sleep Apps & MP3 Download Programs

If you’re having difficulty sleeping try out my sleep apps and MP3 downloads or contact me to book a one-to-one sleep coaching session.

*Remember: The quality of our sleep is always far more important than the amount of hours you sleep.

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

max kirsten

 

How Alcohol Affects your Sleep

According to new insomnia sleep research, one in seven of us (and one in four insomniacs) are using alcohol as a sleep aid. Though reaching for the bottle may be an easy way to fall asleep, alcohol before bed can be detrimental to getting a great night’s sleep.  Even at comparatively low levels, the more that we drink, the more alcohol affects our sleep and how we feel the following morning.  Here’s why.

Natural Sleep vs. Alcohol Induced Sleep

Most of us would agree that a few drinks seem to help us fall asleep just fine. However there is a massive difference between falling asleep under the influence of alcohol, and falling asleep naturally which will in fact result in a much better night’s sleep.

Alcohol Disturbs Your Sleep Pattern

Though alcohol has a sedative effect, it interrupts what we call your ‘sleep architecture’. This is the pattern of sleep your brain waves follow overnight. And, it’s by sticking to this pattern that we end up feeling refreshed in the morning. It involves getting the right balance of REM sleep (dreaming sleep) and non–REM sleep (including deep sleep).

Sadly, alcohol disturbs this pattern. Alcohol enhanced sleep means the brain is no longer able to perform its natural restorative processes.  Instead of balancing out, the portion of non-REM sleep increases, while the portion of REM sleep decreases. But, the real problem begins during the second half of the night, when your REM sleep reduces. At this point, your sleep becomes much more disturbed. You may not feel it at first, but when the pattern breaks, you’re heading into a restless night of tossing and turning.

Other Negative Effects

Additionally, alcohol increases your body temperature, dehydration, and feelings of restlessness.  This is down to the toxins produced by the body – as it tries to break down the alcohol in its system. Alcohol can also cause breathing problems overnight. Even small amounts of alcohol can result in slower breathing.  The lining of your throat becomes more swollen, and the muscle tone in your airways is reduced.  As a result, breathing problems including snoring, and sleep apnoea are much more likely to set in. The oxygen deprivation that results can cause you to feel heavy and un-refreshed in the morning.  It can also lead to unwanted weight gain as your metabolism slows down.

Alcohol Before Bed = A Slipery Slope

Some sleep specialists claim that having a single glass of wine before bed is a good approach for insomniacs (but not for the general population). Though this approach may be beneficial for some people with severe sleep problems, I would argue that it’s a ‘slippery slope’.  Think about it. The more alcohol you drink regularly, the more your body becomes immune to alcohol’s sleep inducing qualities. The benefits eventually wear off, leaving you to deal with just the negative impact it has on your sleep. 

Natural Sleep – The Best Kind of Sleep

The best type of sleep involves the natural processes of your brain and biological sleep cycles. It is very different to the sedative state induced by alcohol, which suppresses the natural activity of your brain. So if you want a refreshing, wonderful night’s sleep, it’s best to avoid that nightcap!

As a sleep coach, I recommend learning my completely natural ‘ABC of better sleep’ technique. It teaches you to relax sequentially, and give up ‘trying’ to sleep. Learn to let go of your thoughts, and drift off naturally into deep, refreshing sleep. You can learn more about the ABC sleep app here.

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

Max

10 things that stop a good night’s sleep

No one wants poor sleep, difficulty falling asleep, waking repeatedly in the night, or having chronic insomnia. If going to sleep has become something that you dread, here are 10 things to keep in mind and to practice before turning out the lights.

Work out your pre-sleep routine

Most of us enjoy getting ready for sleep. But, poor sleep preparation can lead to having a restless night.

So here are some things that you can do.  Research shows that taking a hot bath is very helpful.  In fact, it’s more effective at helping you to physically relax than even taking a shower. Feeling clean, with a hot body that cools slowly when you get into bed, is a wonderful feeling, and should help you to settle after a hard day of work.

Snuggly bedclothes, pyjamas, an old t-shirt or whatever else makes you feel comfortable (hey, you’re never to old for that favorite stuffed animal!) will also help.

If you are prone to cold feet (most older adults are), sleep socks (low-cut socks) are also a good option, keeping your feet warm during the night, without cutting off your blood’s circulation..

Uncomfortable bed and/or pillows

If your bed is uncomfortable – too soft, to hard, or just unsupportive – invest in a better bed.  Now you’re probably going, “Max!  Why would I throw my hard earned money at something I’m simply going to lie on, doing nothing for hours?” Well, the answer is that we spent half of our lives in our beds, recharging our batteries so we can perform to our best ability each and every day of our lives.  So if you can, you better treat yourself to a good one! It’s a health investment!

Find the right pillows. Not all pillows are the same, so find the ones that work for you – you’ll be glad that you did. Some people even like to travel with the right pillow as part of their ‘sleep religion’. Hotel bedrooms rarely feel as comfortable as your one at home (although they might smell fancier), so bringing a few supplies with you can make the difference between an ‘OK’ night and a great night’s sleep.

 

Too much light

Light can be really impairing when it comes to sleep. Whether it’s from street lights outside your window, or your blinds letting in morning light, light makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. A good pair of curtains or blinds that block out light is ideal. Even the light from your digital clock can make your sleep erratic.  Ideally switch electronic devices such as mobile phones off, or set to silent, some even have a sleep setting.

A disturbance, argument, unresolved issue, anger

Most of us know that having a disturbed mental state before bed will usually result in a poor night’s sleep. Techniques such as writing things down, list making, discussing it with someone, talking it through, all help to process the disturbance, event, argument, unresolvable issue, what have you. If none of this works, remember, tomorrow is another day.

Exercise just before bed

With the exception of bedroom love-making (of course) intense exercise such as a late-night gym session, can have a negative effect on sleeping.  This is due to your heart rate and metabolism being increased, making it harder to unwind in bed later. It is always better to do exercise in the day or early evening.

An uncomfortable or noisy environment

Noise is a big interference when it comes to sleep.  An old boiler, your neighbor’s dinner party, the student rave upstairs, a domestic argument in the street, doors slamming, floor boards creaking, traffic, ambulances, or just the noise of your partner snoring, can all stop you from obtaining that beautiful, well deserved, night’s sleep.  These noises are often even louder in the summer when the hot weather forces us to leave our windows open. Although not ideal for every night, I recommend having a good pair of earplugs (foam, silicone, wax earplugs, there are many different types) to help tune these sounds out and lock into a good night’s sleep. NOT all earplugs are the same, so shop around.

An irregular routine

Sleep research shows that most people benefit from keeping to a regular sleep routine. The body’s natural circadian rhythm responds best to regular day/night routines. Obviously if you are a shift worker, or an international traveller crossing time zones, your body’s natural clock will not be working as it wants to. Research also shows that most of us are getting less sleep than our predecessors.  This is probably due to all the extra stimuli, such as 24-hour TV, the Internet, computers and smart phones with blue light (read my blog on the matter here). Most of us could do with going to bed an hour earlier, and certainly our health would improve as a result.

Stimulants – coffee, alcohol, food, nicotine

Sleep is often impaired by stimulants such as coffee.   Most people should have their last cup 5 to 8 hours before hitting the pillow. Other caffeinated drinks such as tea, fizzy drinks, and even eating chocolate late at night (cocoa is a stimulant just like coffee) can also affect your sleep.  Certain foods, which are particularly rich and difficult to digest should be avoided altogether before bed. Many people are still surprised that alcohol, which may seem a good idea before bed, inevitably leads to waking in the night, dehydration and restlessness!

Finally, let’s not forget ‘ye’ old classic’: the cigarette. Nicotine is in fact a powerful stimulant so it can often reduce deep sleep quality (particularly if nicotine is absorbed without tobacco’s other ingredients). Now, we have nicotine with a twist – as it’s often now ‘vaped’ with the ever increasing use of e-cigs. As a result, nicotine is absorbed directly into the body in a much purer form, and often at a much higher dosage.  This makes sleep more difficult, and leaves the user exhausted, and un-refreshed after a night of crazy dreams in the morning. Much better to drink a little water, and eat healthy natural foods that are easy to digest, before jumping into the hay-sack.

 The wrong body temperature

A bedroom that is either too hot or too cold can make sleep less comfortable. Ideally the room and your bed should reach body temperature. Then, as you’re falling asleep, your bed should be cozily warm, and the air in your room slightly cool to the touch.

A busy mind

Of all the things that can stop you having a great night’s sleep, a busy mind can be the worst. Sleep is for sleeping. Of course, a little time preparing for sleep, and relaxing in bed to process the day’s thoughts is healthy. But, when you’re ready to sleep, letting go of daytime thoughts, and allowing yourself to relax and let go is key. Some of us, particularly the light or anxious insomniacs, need some help to learn how to get ‘out of the way’ of our sleep.

Seek help for sleep

As a certified sleep coach, and as a self-confessed fully recovered insomniac, I love to teach techniques, and practical tips that make falling asleep effortless and delicious.

However if you live far away, thanks to modern technology, you can now access and download my 2 sleep apps, the ‘ABC of better sleep’, and my ‘Insomnia cure’. Both of these contain wonderfully relaxing ambient recordings to drift off to…

I’m proud to say these hypnotic sleep audio programs have won a number of sleep awards!

You can find them on my website thesleepcoach.co.uk or on iTunes – search for Max Kirsten to find all my apps for the iPhone and iPad.

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

Max

How to Avoid Blue Light Insomnia

 

sleep_coach_blue_light

According to recent research, blue light technology is now being slated as one of the main causes of insomnia.  The more time we spend on our iPhones, iPads, or Kindle Fires – all devices which emit blue light – the harder it is to get a good night’s rest.  As wonderful and convenient as these blue light devices may be, avoiding them could be the key to beating your insomnia.

It’s All Down to Blue Light Technology

Believe it or not, sleep was much easier to get before the digital era arrived. However, new research from Penn State and Harvard University has proven that people who regularly read electronic books and stare at blue light screens before turning the lights out sleep for less hours!  They are also more prone to experience periods of insomnia.

This is down to the blue light emitted from these devices, which interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythm – a ‘fancy’ term for the internal mechanism which synchronizes with the Earth’s 24 hr rotation.  This ‘body clock’ is regulated by our senses, and most importantly regulated by the amount of light that passes through our eyes. When this light travels up the optic nerve to an area in the brain known as the pineal gland, it works to regulate melatonin, the hormone that induces sleepiness.  Any imbalance in this special hormone will cause restlessness in sleep, as well as insomnia.

Blue Light Interferes with the Ages of Sleep

The pressures of modern day living, alongside the use of blue light devices, simply makes it harder and harder for us to fall asleep – or even stay asleep. This is because blue light impairs the effectiveness of the stages of sleep; In fact, it is particularly detrimental to REM sleep which is in charge of storing memories.  Studies carried out by Penn State and Harvard University (US) – published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – support this, showing that screens really can have an extremely powerful effect on the body’s natural sleep pattern.

How to Avoid Blue Light Insomnia – Real Books and Less Technology

Therefore, it is becoming much more clear that if you wish to get a great night’s sleep – but enjoy reading a good book before bedtime – a real book with printed words will help you sleep better than any electronic device. In fact, I believe that limiting the use of blue light devices to at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime is even more helpful when trying to avoid insomnia.  I also believe that televisions, mobiles (and their chargers), as well as all other electronic devices should be kept out of the bedroom – or at least switched off completely before bedtime.

Blue Light is the Enemy of Sleep

As a sleep coach, I am seeing more and more people with sleep difficulties, caused by worry, anxieties, stimulants (i.e. coffee, nicotine, cigarettes and e-cigs), alcohol, and now blue light circadian rhythm interruption ( Wow! Try saying that five times!) to top it all. Though blue light has been a positive breakthrough in computer screen technology blue light IS the enemy of sleep.

 

It seems that living in the city improves your sleep

sleep_coach_blog_city_living

It is hard to believe, but some new sleep research shows that many people who live in the city are getting a better night’s sleep than those who live in the wild countryside. It seems that the natural sounds of far away open spaces, the wonderful broken silence of a sleepy night by the dawn chorus at the end of a quiet twinkly starlit night, and all that fresh air, may not in fact be as good for overall sleep quality as we originally thought. Wendy Taylor, 46, who lives in rural Norfolk agreed that the countryside can be a very noisy place particularly at the break of dawn.

According to their sleep survey, urban Britain sleeps far better than those who live in rural areas and the soundest sleepers appear to live in London. The poll found that 38% of Londoners claimed to be unable to sleep for at least seven hours uninterrupted. Whereas 63% of people living around Nottingham were dissatisfied with their sleep followed by those living near Norwich, with 59% dissatisfaction, and Southampton with 50% sleep dissatisfaction. Who would have thought that the city dwellers would be leaving the way in quality Zzzz…

Apparently the early morning sound of distant cockerels, farming equipment and noisy birdsong were named as the main annoyances for those frustrated sleepers who live in the countryside.
Who would have thought that homes in cities, insulated from most street sounds, away from the fresh air and wild countryside, would be so conducive to more satisfying sleep than many dwellers living and sleeping in the countryside.

These findings contradict previous evidence about the effect and extent of emotional disruption and stress caused by living in cities. One study found that 39% of people living in an urban city environment had a 39% higher probability for mood disorders and 21% greater risk of anxiety disorders. Figures from the office of National statistics released last year also suggest that those living in the countryside were more likely to be happy, with residents of the Orkneys, West Somerset, East Devon and County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland reporting the highest levels of life satisfaction.

It is a fact that sleep is vital to not only the way we feel, but also the way we function in our personal and professional lives .If you’re struggling with sleep, get into a natural routine by setting regular sleep and wake up times and remove any distractions like electronics or outside light. Best to avoid caffeine after about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, to take regular exercise (but not at night) and to have warm bath just before going to bed are all shown to improve the quality of sleep.

The research also showed that adults between 25 and 34 were found to have the greatest ability to rest, with 71% saying that they regularly got a good night’s sleep. By contrast, only 46% of the over-55’s said that they were satisfied with their sleep.

And it seems that there is some foundation to the cliché that women are more prone to lie awake at night thinking than men. Just over a third of men said they were unhappy with their sleep compared to 46% of women. It seems that men sleep sounder than women, and most women will agree that their partner usually falls asleep almost as soon as their head hits the pillow.

However, if you are one of those who finds that sleep is difficult in a city, or living in the countryside there are many things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep without succumbing to the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Understanding that sleep hygiene and powerful relaxation techniques, and there are many which combined with sleep routines can have a phenomenally improving effect increasing the restorative effects of natural sleep. I teach the ABC of better sleep at my clinic or you can download my iPhone iPad apps or MP3 sleep programs at http://www.maxkirsten.com/bettersleep/
I wish you a great night sleep, every night!
Zzz…
Max Kirsten

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