Unfortunately my body had become so used to lack of sleep and waking up every couple of hours I had completely thrown my sleeping pattern out of sync.
I really was at a loose end, and my work was suffering through sheer lack of being able to focus. Not to mention I was cranky as hell with my wife and friends.
I needed a fast solution, and got one through a friend. She told me her sister had a similar problem and had cured it using a program called Six Steps To Sleep, by sleep hygiene expert Peter Litchfield.
I was at the point of wanting to give anything (except pills of course) a go.
I really like the approach of Six Steps To Sleep because it’s entirely natural, and driven by facts and personal experience. Litchfield’s approach just makes sense.
Everything he says has you saying, “yeah, that is totally true”, and it’s not rocket science either, in fact it’s all pretty much common sense, but not stuff you think about on a day-to-day basis.
This practicality makes it very easy to implement the Six Steps, which feature first in the book as the core focus. Basically, you start by changing specific aspects of your routine and environment, all with the purpose of creating a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
You must follow the steps for 30-days, which once you get going is pretty easy, not to mention interesting – I really got into learning about sleep during the period, and before now have never really considered how sleep affects absolutely every aspect of health.
NB: You won’t need to wait 30-days for better sleep, however. You’ll be so tired by day three, you’ll be dropping off in front of the TV, which is a testament to Litchfield’s theory that 95% of insomnia cases are purely down to an unhealthy sleep-wake cycle and a lifestyle and environment detrimental to good sleep.
The book is written really well written. The author really connects with you because he himself suffered with insomnia for many years; there’s a real sense of empathy throughout, and this goes a long way in helping really commit to the advice.
After the Six Steps there are nine supporting chapters, all of which will come in handy at one time or another. They are as follows:
- The Six Steps
- Essential Reading for Better Sleep
- Chapter 1: Working with Your Natural Cycle
- Chapter 2: Waking up During the Night
- Chapter 3: Stress and Sleep
- Chapter 4: Sleeping Before a Big Occasion
- Chapter 5: Napping
- Chapter 6: Sharing a Bed
- Chapter 7: Smoking and Sleep
- Chapter 8: Alcohol and Sleep
- Chapter 9: Air Travel and Sleep
Accompanying the program are three binaural beats sleep audios that use brain entrainment to help with relaxation. Each is designed to help with a different aspect of insomnia; Calm Mind, Anxiety Release, and Deep Sleep, respectively.
For those who don’t know, binaural beats use a ‘frequency response process’ to entrain the brain to specific states. These audios use theta frequencies for deep relaxation, and delta frequencies to promote deep sleep.
The third main core part of the package is a sleep hypnosis recording, narrated by Litchfield himself, called Sleep Like A Baby. It’s pretty powerful stuff, so make sure you are lying down when listening.
The recording uses hypnosis to put you into a state of altered awareness, and then a mix of subliminal messaging, NLP techniques and theta binaural beats frequencies to remap subconscious negative thinking surrounding your sleep.
Sleep Diet Guide
Another awesome addition to this package is the Ultimate Sleep Diet Guide, which teaches you about sleep-friendly and non-friendly foods – I mean it’s pointless having a healthy sleep routine if you’re diet is anti-sleep, right?
But it isn’t just coffee and sugar that keeps you up at night, as the guide discloses; you’ll learn about the power of almonds, turkey, whole grains and an amino acid called Tryptophan that promotes secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Lastly there’s a sleep planner which is a basic guide designed to help you track your progress through the 30-days Six-Step program. I printed mine out ad filled it in each morning over breakfast – best to get it out the way, otherwise you’ll forget what you wanted to write by dinnertime!
As mentioned previously it was only a few days before I was dropping off at the time I had done previously before Josh was born.
I began to get my full 7.5-hour sleeps again, and it really was a lifesaver at the time because of such a demanding job. One thing I will say is that it helps if your partner is willing to participate with you and go to bed and wake up at the same times.
I did really enjoy the book, not just because I needed to reset my sleep-wake cycle but because it was interesting; I’ve since shared the knowledge with a number of friends when they’ve mentioned experiencing poor sleep.
Being a meditation and binaural beats fan, I of course enjoyed the audios, and found the hypnosis recording particularly effective, which has encouraged me explore other audio in this area.
I generally use that now if I have a bad night’s sleep the night before. I put it on in the afternoon (at work I use the quiet room and on the weekends I’ll go into my study) and I always find I sleep very deeply the following night. Placebo effect? Who knows, but it works for me, whatever.
I would certainly recommend this system. At $39.99 (at the time of writing) you get a hell of a lot of value. It’s affordable, it works, and it’s natural, which makes it preferably to pills and other expensive treatments.
Having done some research I can tell you that a sleep hygiene therapist will set you back between $100-300 per hour, depending on who you see. And they’ll pretty much teach you everything Litchfield does in his book, and they won’t give you any binaural beats for free, either!
Depending on how long you’ve been suffering insomnia, I’d give it at least 3-7 days for results to begin kicking in. Also remember that you must follow the advice closely, otherwise like everything in life, you won’t get the most of it.