Can you tell us a little more about yourself and what has led to your work around sleep?
I started off in the Health and Fitness Industry about 30 years ago as a Personal Trainer and Pilates teacher. Very quickly I realised that there was a real connection between the body and mind. That motivated me to qualify as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner. My goal was to connect with the core of the mind to create positive changes mentally and physically. In 2013/14, I released no.1 selling hypnotherapy apps on Google Play and App Store, one of them helping people with Sleep. That same year I had two cardiac arrests that changed my life forever. It was then that I discovered mindfulness and meditations and, having embraced the practice, I went on to train in the field. Something that saved my life was something I had to share. Today, I bring Mindfulness into everything I teach.
What are some of the common misconceptions people have about the work you do?
Many people think that they can’t meditate or be mindful. People have a misconception that there is a specific length of time to meditate, a certain position you must sit in and that they have to silence their minds completely. I start by teaching people to meditate for 45 seconds, and that they can do it wherever they are, sitting, standing, walking or lying down. Once they realise how simple it can be, it motivates them to want to do it more. As for the silent mind, it is more about learning to focus in on one thing, on purpose, in the present moment non-judgementally. As you learn to direct your attention on purpose, the mind will start opening up and even quieten down. That is when you start experiencing being mindful.
What are some of the most common complaints or issues that people come to you with?
These days the most common complaints are that people are stressed, anxious and struggle to sleep.
How can mindfulness & meditation help us to sleep better?
Mindfulness and meditation directly affect our stress and anxiety levels which in turn has a massive influence on how we sleep. If you could connect to simple meditation routines daily, you will feel the difference. A more relaxed, calm individual will find it much easier to fall asleep. Being mindful of your habits, night-time routines and choices of activities before bedtime, you will also aid yourself to be more ready for sleep.
What would you recommend to help combat some of the increased stress and anxiety we are all experiencing this year?
To deal with the increased stress and anxiety we are all experiencing, it is time to take some form of control back. Manage your stress levels daily so that you can cope with whatever is happening in the world around you. Here is a little example:
- On awakening, avoid things that cause you stress and start with something relaxing and nurturing. Like a meditation, a cup of tea or a shower.
- Manage your stress levels during the day, reset yourself if need be by doing something relaxing like a breath meditation, a slow walk or some nurturing food.
- Check in with people that are important to you and even some that aren't, the act of reaching out can be very healing.
- Make healthy choices around exercise, food intake and what you tune into on your devices.
What are your top three recommendations for anyone struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep?
2) Focus on keeping your stress and anxiety levels low. The more relaxed and calm you are, the easier it is to sleep.
3) Create a night-time ritual that will prepare you for sleep, this could be anything from a beauty ritual, a mediation or doing everything VERY slowly. In doing this, you will create a subconscious connection that will help your mind to start switching off, ready to sleep.