Woman sleeping in bed; sleep

There’s so many people out there struggling with their sleep each and every night. And I’m not talking about parents of babies, toddlers or young children (though no doubt they would love a full night of sleep, but their situation is relatively temporary). Rather, people who find it difficult to get to sleep, to stay asleep or generally wake up without feeling refreshed – how sleep is meant to make you feel.

Last year, I was involved in a study with seven of my colleagues. It was titled “An investigation into the efficacy of Professional Kinesiology Practice in improving the quality and quantity of sleep”. The study consisted of 67 people, 60 of whom completed 6-day sleep diaries before and after 3 kinesiology sessions that were specifically aimed at improving their sleep.

The results were a 16% increase in the number of hours sleep each night, a 19% improvement on the self-rated quality of sleep and a 39% reduction in the number of times woken on average. These results came after just 3 to 3.5 hours of kinesiology with each person. Imagine what another few hours could achieve!

 

Sleeping like a baby
Sleeping like a baby

 

Personally, I’ve only had one instance of having sleep difficulties and that was when I went through topical steroid withdrawal a few years back. It was horrible to not be able to sleep and then trying to function at work, that was just hard work. So I can absolutely empathise with those who struggle with sleep.

That aside my only problem with sleep was that my hours were all wonky. Going to bed at 2am and (when possible) getting up at 10am or later would be my ultimate day! Only I have a child and sleeping until 10am is just not possible, so I just wasn’t allowing myself enough sleep.

Circadian rhythms

Recently I’ve been doing a great deal of research on circadian rhythms – otherwise known as your body clock – and their impact on healing. And for the last few months, I have been making a huge effort to reset some of my bad habits.

You see, I’m a night owl – through and through. I love to sit up and work in the wee hours of the morning, the time that I have just to myself, feeling like the whole world is asleep except me (and the rest of the world on the other side of the globe of course). Oh the things I would do! Read, explore, research and entertainment. I would usually be freezing cold, but that’s what my trusty little heater would be good for.

But now I have changed. And the catalyst for my change was my child’s swimming teacher. She gets up at 5am… every day. Probably a habit she formed as a youngster who was in the pool at the crack of dawn. Then each night, she’s in bed by 9pm. Which was all fine and well for her. But upon discovering that I was often awake at 2am, she spoke the words that any health practitioner dreads, “Oh my goodness, but that is so unhealthy!”. She was right, of course, which is why the discomfort it caused me was so… unsettling.

Steps I have taken to improve my sleep

So I’ve now made a very conscious effort to:

  • Get to sleep before 11pm (Baby steps, ok? My aim was 10pm, but I’m on my way)
  • Stop working at night. That means no laptop for me after dark unless for (very) short tasks.
  • Wear blue blocker glasses after sunset to stop the damage to my system from artificial blue light. Blue light in particular is NOT natural after the sun has gone down. Even though my husband STILL laughs at me each and every time he sees me wearing them. STILL.
  • Open the blinds around 7am each morning, or at first light. Not yet enough to drag my sorry bum out of bed, it’s a start.
  • Get my eyeballs out into the sunshine (if possible) as soon as I get out of bed for as close to 10 minutes as I can. You must understand I’m a last-minute kind of girl, so I only sometimes allow myself enough time to do this.
  • Sit outside and work as much as possible during the day.

Doing this, I’m on my way to reset my circadian rhythm the way it is meant to be! And my skin is improving as a result. Evolution takes much longer than a few generations. Seriously, a lot LOT longer. And to think that my habits were good for me was just… wrong.

So as I’m trying this out on myself for healing purposes, I am also advising some of my sleep-lacking clients to do the same. And the results have been very positive. Perhaps I should be setting up another study on sleep? Interested??

Elusive sleep and how I improved mine
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Phillipa Huynh

Phillipa, a kinesiologist working in Park Orchards and Thornbury, Victoria, teaches you how to make your life ‘fit’ again. A big believer in positive change, Phillipa teaches you how to understand your past so you can map your future.