Why Combating the ‘Sleep Debt’ is Essential
Now more than ever.
The election is over. I had written a recent article on Huffington Post, Are You Ready To Put This Election to Bed?…So you can get some sleep. , that gave some guidance to getting a good night’s sleep amidst the election turmoil and intensity. Yet, I could publish virtually the same article now, post-election. So, I’ve updated it. One thing has not changed:
SLEEP REMAINS ESSENTIAL
For some, sound sleep has arrived with our President-elect having received their vote and their desired election results. For others, panic, worry, fear, and sadness are permeating their days and nights. So, what can those for whom sleep is now compromised all the more do to support their health and well-being, and in turn, that of a divided nation whose woes are rippling across the globe.
Unfortunately, we are still bombarded with a barrage of post-election news, much of it continuing to evoke stress and anxiety for millions. Call it post-election angst. Call it worry. Call it what you want but it’s impacting people’s days…and their nights.
First and foremost, you owe it to yourself and those around you to do your best to honor yourself by getting good sleep, both quality and quantity. A good night’s sleep (or day’s for shift workers) will help you cope with whatever challenges you face, be they election related or otherwise.
So, what can you do to support good sleep and good waking hours? Here are some tips for EVERYONE, regardless of which side of the election you were on and whether you are gloating or still in shock:
- Each and every one of us needs to dig deep, go as far as your heart, and find ways to be kind and loving. To the stranger on the street or to the potentially estranged who voted differently from you.
- Limit your exposure to the media. I surely am. It’s intense and provocative. For many, it can be scary, triggering, and sad. For others, it may be supporting division among our vast array of citizens. Remember, we live in the UNITED States of America.
- Do things that give you joy, be it a walk with your dog, a nice relaxing bath, watching a favorite movie that makes you happy, or having a nice dinner with family or friends.
- If prayer is a part of your life, now is a great time to pray for peace in the hearts of all of our citizens and citizens across the globe.
- Express gratitude for even the seemingly smallest things, like having clean water to drink. When your brain is ignited with stress or worry, transfer your thoughts to gratitude. When in a state of gratitude, it is difficult to be angry or stressed at the same time. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
- Worrying passively about the post-election is not productive or healthy. Channel your anxiety and stress by taking action. Do something to make the world a better place. Inspire others to do the same. We can all use a dose of inspiration!
- Have hope and find/make peace. Allow these children inspire you as they sing for the Pope and the world: Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. Alert: Have tissue at hand.
Ok. Now that you’ve taken some steps during the day, what can you do to ensure a good night’s sleep when post-election anxiety and fear are compromising your slumber? If your dreams are being usurped by fear and anger, or you’re having nightmares about election outcomes, how can you surrender to slumber in peace?
Having a healthy sleep routine is always important, but during times like this when there seem to be so many unknowns ahead, when stress and anxiety are seemingly everywhere, here are some ways to transition to slumber in a peaceful, calm way:
- Engage in relaxing evening activities. Watch a good movie or non-stressful program. Avoid the news in the hours before bedtime. If you work nights, don’t watch the news after your shift before going to sleep.
- Put technology to bed at least an hour before going to sleep.
- Read a book just before bed, something peaceful and positive.
- Once in bed, practice mindfulness or breathing techniques. This keeps you focused and present, instead of being in the past or future.
- As you lay down, think of things you are grateful for and indulge in gratitude. When feeling grateful, you can’t be angry or fearful. A gratitude practice is an antidote to stress. When is the last time you thanked your heart for beating? Do so in bed when all quiets down.
- Program your subconscious in the moments before sleep. As the late Dr. Wayne Dyer instructs in his book Wishes Fulfilled, this is the perfect time to prepare yourself to enter the unconscious state of sleep. Think of your subconscious as a programmable hard drive that responds to what’s been programmed into it. These moments are a precious time before slumber takes over. Choose to send messages to your subconscious that align with what you want to see in your life.
- As President Obama reminded us, the sun will rise again tomorrow. Have faith that the good of humanity will prevail. And let peace begin with you.
I hope these sleep tips help you find peaceful and restorative sleep. As our President-elect begins to deal with the national debt come January, I hope he will pay attention to our sleep debt, a dangerous reality with myriad consequences. For our leaders and for you, good, clear decision making is paramount, as is a good night’s sleep.
Whether your candidate was elected or not, you can choose to elect to a healthy dose of perspective and a good sleep routine. May your dreams be sweet and your days filled with promise and peace.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on November 11, 2016.