How many of us have sleep problems? Raise your hands. Too many hands. Put them back down.

I join your ranks and finally went to a sleep specialist for help. Dr. Yan-Go is a neurologist/psychiatrist who specializes in sleep disorders. She has been adamant telling me there is a physiologic component to sleep disorders and that we have to find what triggers this. When I saw her in December, I discovered that I had gone back into my “mommy” mode having to listen for every sound like I did when my boys lived with us. When they went to college, I didn’t have to anymore and I slept like a rock. When both Zack and Eric had to move back in after college, I unconsciously went back into the “mommy mode” and it disrupted my sleep. (Zack now says he would rather sweep the streets than come back and live with us. I really don’t think it was that bad.) Once I realized I didn’t have to listen for them anymore, I could sleep well and soundly again.

Starting in June, I began to have problems and went to see her this week. She explained the dynamics of sleep which I was breaking, unknowingly. There are 3 specific areas of sleep. The first begins upon waking up. As you go through your day, your hormones keep you going and give you energy. However, in order to go to sleep at night, you have to turn off the hormones. The way to do this is to begin at dinner to empty your mind of conscious thoughts that you are focused on….work….problems….stress issues. If you are having problems emptying your mind, she recommends starting a journal either speaking into your IPhone or writing what is going on or why you are bothered. Your evening should be spent enjoying a book or movie or TV so that your mind is essentially empty. Then you fall asleep and fall into a non-REM sleep which is the longest and most important segment of your sleep cycle. When you are getting ready to wake up, you go into a REM sleep where you dream.

When you do not empty your mind, you fall asleep and your mind jumps immediately into REM sleep. This causes you to wake up many times during the night and feel exhausted even though you got 7-8 hours of sleep.

I tried out her advice and couldn’t believe that I slept through the night (woke once to get some water) and awoke refreshed.

So try this and see if it helps you.