Martin Seminars

12021 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 123  
Los Angeles, CA  90025  
Phone: 310-820-4336   

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Set Your Alarm to Sleep
by Bob Martin “America’s bout with insomnia. Learn how to get the sleep you need. Tonight on ‘News at 11’.” - promo. for eleven o’clock news. 

Boy, they sure know their target audience, don’t they? Eleven o’clock is a great time for a program for people who can’t fall asleep. According to that show, and many like it, the majority of Americans suffer from some form of sleep deprivation. They often can’t fall asleep, wake up often during the night, or they just can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning. Many people just don’t get the sleep they need. They drag through their work days half awake and surviving on auto-pilot. Do any of those situations sound familiar to you? 

Problems associated with not getting enough sleep 

People who suffer from sleep deprivation may often feel moody. Their emotional state may swing from the ecstatic, or “punchy,” feeling that we associate with lack of sleep, to irritability and lack patience with people and situations around them. They may often find that they react much more quickly and with greater emotional intensity than they would under normal circumstances. 
The may also suffer from a loss of productivity. They may feel lethargic, or lack the energy to move or perform as they normally would. They may even feel overcome by malaise or depression. They may also suffer from a loss of creativity. The loss of energy that often accompanies sleep deprivation may also depress their desire to create. 

It’s been estimated that the majority of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree and don’t perform to their optimum capabilities. Are you one of them? 

Obstacles to Sleep 

“I don’t have a problem sleeping. I can’t get to bed in the first place -- that’s my problem!” 
Do you find that there’s just not enough hours in the day to do all of the things you have to do? Work, classes, studying? Is it hard to find even a smidgen (smidgen being the technical term) of time for a social life? Do you find that you often have to relegate sleeping to the lowest rung on your priority list? Is it something you figure you can always catch up on later? 

Our bodies often tend to function best in patterns, or cycles. Many people find that they are “night owls” and often find their second wind around nine, ten, maybe even eleven o’clock at night. They don’t even begin to feel sleepy until the early morning hours. And you know people know that the best TV doesn’t even begin until late at night. I feel for you because I’ve been there. You are my people! 

Many students also find that the most convenient time to study is in the evening. Unfortunately, by nine or ten o’clock their minds are wide awake and over-stimulated from being pumped up with information. These same students then find it hard to go to sleep after working so hard (some of you are saying, “Whaaah? What do you mean? I fall asleep when I study!”). Do you find that you turn to the television when you’re in this kind of state? Do you then fall into the TV trap of “Leno,” “Letterman” or whatever else will hold your interest? Next thing you know, “Surf’s Up” and ‘round and ‘round the channels you go! 

Girls, let’s not all point at the boys. I’ve seen one or two of you do a thirty second lap around the channels! Now you’re caught in the TV riptide until two or three in the morning. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem if not for the eight o’clock Chem. class tomorrow morning. 


Solutions? Did I write, “Solutions?” C’mon, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without few things to try. 
To begin with, we know that the body craves regularity. Setting a regular time to go to sleep each night is one way to work with your body. Since the body often operates within pre-set cycles, attempting to catch up on lost sleep by sleeping later in the morning usually won’t help as much as sleeping on a regular schedule. The problem with sleeping later is that the body will still begin to wake at the same time that it normally would. The little doses of sleep that you get between that time and the time you actually get out of bed aren’t as beneficial as regular, nightly sleep. 

Plan a definite time to go to sleep each night and keep that plan. That may be tough for you night owls but I here’s a little gimmick that may help you. Many students live in a dorm room or a small apartment. Try setting your alarm clock for the time you plan to go to bed. That’s right. Not only can your alarm clock be used to wake you in the morning but you can also use it to prod yourself to go to bed at night! Often, we only need just a little nudge to get us to get up, turn off the TV and go to bed. Your alarm clock can be just the impetus you need. You’ll find after a few nights that you’ve created a new pattern, or habit, for yourself and it will be easier to go to bed when you’ve planned. 

You can help to re-set your body clock by exercising regularly in the mornings. I’ve been a night owl for most of my life and I’ve been successful in using this one technique to adjust my body clock to the demands of a day job. By exercising immediately upon waking each morning, the body become accustomed to waking up at the same time each morning. The exercise helps the body to make a dramatic shift from sleeping to a waking state. Not only did I begin to wake up each morning without an alarm clock, but I’d feel great all day. At night, I would begin to feel sleepy at the same time and I’d fall into a deeply satisfying sleep immediately after going to bed. 

Some people have found that they can help their body fall into a sleep state by manipulating their environment. They do this by setting up a series of rituals that they follow each night to signal to the body that it’s time to sleep. These rituals may include eating a balanced meal early in the evening and refraining from eating for a few hours before going to bed. They may opt to take a warm bath or shower and to stretch lightly before going to bed. That folk remedy of drinking warm milk to bring about sleepiness may be more than a myth. Milk contains the amino acid, tryptophan, which can help to produce drowsiness. 

Still others find it helpful to reduce the lighting in their room and the volume of their TV and stereo as the night goes on. This gradually reduces the amount of stimulation they provide to their senses, easing the mind into sleep. 

I hope some of these solutions help you to get the sleep your body craves. As for me . . . there goes my alarm. Time to get prone! 

12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 123
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 820-4336