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The Sweet Success of Sleep by Sharon Graham

Oct 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Wellness Coaching

Helping Your Client to Get a Good Night’s Rest

by Sharon Graham

photo by AmpamukA

photo by AmpamukA

When I do Wellness Assessment with clients, one of the areas we look at is their personal satisfaction with the amount and level of sleep they’re getting each night.  What time are they getting to bed?  How much sleep are they getting each night?  Do they awaken feeling refreshed and ready to go, or are they dragging themselves through the day, all the while wishing and hoping for a nap?  In doing hundreds of assessments with people, it is a rare client who sleeps well or long enough each night.  Why is adequate rest so important for coaches and clients alike?

Following are just a few of the reasons why sleep is so important.

  • Only during sleep does the body and mind repair and rejuvenate itself.
  • Adequate sleep helps to slow the aging process.
  • Adequate sleep is critical for optimal immune system function.
  • Sleep regulates the release of hormones and improves brain function.
  • For anyone who wants to be successful, at whatever they do, sleep is a vital necessity, not a luxury.

Effects of lack of adequate rest and sleep that may surprise you.

  • Fifty to seventy million Americans live on the brink of mental and physical collapse due to lack of sleep.
  • Sixty million Americans suffer from insomnia.  (More than half the country’s population deals with insomnia several times a week.)
  • Sleeplessness causes 100,000 accidents per year with 1500 fatalities.
  • Lack of sleep also interferes with normal endocrine function causing hormonal imbalance which leads to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Someone may be exercising and eating well; however without adequate rest and sleep their body cannot metabolize fat efficiently which will contribute to fat storage and being overweight.

So, how can you as a coach help your client get a good night’s rest?

A few coaching keys are:

  • Go to bed at a consistent time each evening, preferably by 10:30, with 10:00 being optimum.  If you get up before 5:00 am, then going to bed earlier is critical.  Each hour of sleep before midnight is equivalent to three hours after midnight.
  • Put work away at least 1 hour before bedtime.  Quiet yourself and feed your spirit with scripture reading or other encouraging Christian reading.  Bedtime is not the time to get involved in the latest murder mystery or thrill-seeker.
  • Get the TV and computer out of the bedroom.  Both cause stimulation of the brain which will interfere with sleep.  The electromagnetic fields can also contribute to insomnia.
  • Create a list of things floating around in your head for the next day.  Once the action item has been written down, your brain can let go of it.
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible.  Even night lights and street lights coming into the room can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, a necessary hormone for adequate sleep. Wear blinders if necessary.
  • Consistent, daily exercise for at least 30 minutes each day will help improve sleep patterns.  However, don’t exercise right before bed.

Some nutritional tips for getting a good night’s rest are:

  • Avoid high sugar and carbohydrate snacks before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid large amounts of any fluids 2 hours prior to bedtime
  • Eat a high protein snack a few hours before bedtime

Know that a good’s night sleep is free but a bad night’s sleep is costly for you and your clients.  Empower them to make the changes they know they need to make.

Sharon Graham is a professional lifestyle coach and a wellness authority who coaches a broad range of clients in how to achieve and maintain wellness.  She is also an author of a recently released e-book on wellness, a blogger (The Coaching Pair), a public speaker, and is currently compiling a cookbook.  (Click here for bio.)

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