7 Steps to Center Yourself

Sleep comes easy to those who are satisfied with all aspects of their lives, not just their work productivity.

By Ellen Michaud with Julie Bain from Sleep to Be Sexy Smart and Slim

Take time to get in touch with yourself, your feelings, your dreams, and the way you want to live a good, healthy life.

     

  • 1.

    Admit the Importance of Sleep.

    Sometimes it seems as though our culture has begun to view the need for sleep as a sign of weakness. It’s the new macho — and women are buying into it big-time. But your body was genetically programmed to spend one-third of its life asleep and to sleep in specific cycles of light sleep, deep sleep, and active-brain sleep. Each cycle takes 90 minutes, and each has a specific assignment that affects thinking, memory, growth, your immune system, and even your weight. Trying to tuck anything that important into an hour here and an hour there just won’t get the job done.

  • 2.

    Begin the Day in Gratitude.

    Take 10 minutes every morning to sit down, close your eyes, and give thanks for every one of the blessings in your life. Name each one and hold it in your thoughts. The sense of gratitude you’ll experience will set a serene tone for the entire day — and reduce a day’s worth of stress hormones that can trigger insomnia that night.

  • 3.

    Strike a Balance.

    Toning down a tightly wired nervous system will encourage a balanced sleep/wake cycle, says Dr. Yan-Go. Think about tai chi, meditation, prayer, biofeedback, yoga — any daily activity that allows you to cultivate a peaceful center and a sense of balance.

  • 4.

    Play with Friends.

    Studies at UCLA reveal that women who have healthy friendships and interactive relationships with their children actually sleep better. The “tend-and-befriend studies,” as they are called, conducted by UCLA researcher Shelly Taylor, Ph.D., indicate that when women are stressed, they tend to their children and seek out other women, possibly an ancient survival mechanism that allowed women to band together to protect themselves and their families. The studies show that when this happens, a woman’s level of a biochemical called oxytocin, which blocks cortisol, the body’s chief stress chemical, is increased, allowing them to rest easier than their wired male counterparts.