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    The Sleep Trick – Falling Asleep In Under 1 Minute

    Biiiiz,

    I cannot tell you how much I LOVED those egg earrings. So unique, everyone I’ve shown that to loves them as well. Excited for my shipment to arrive, you’re the best! I saw your post the other day too with all that snow.. drive carefully out there woman!

    There hasn’t been too much going on around here except for a whole lotta chipmunk movies. My kids are chipmunk obsessed and I didn’t realize there were that many movies made about these little guys. That’s been our routine lately, on days when we are all home:

    • Wake up
    • Milk
    • Disney channel or The Chipmunks
    • Playtime (they’ve been building a lot of forts lately)
    • ABC Mouse – for Amelia
    • Chipmunks
    • Nap Time
    • Chipmunks
    • Leave for some sort of playtime outside (this varies, I don’t like going to parks without Jeff so I either meet up with friends who have kids or we go to that indoor trampoline park or it’s sidewalk chalk and bubbles)
    • Chipmunk Dance Party
    • Dinner
    • Bath
    • Chipmunks
    • Milk
    • Bed
    • REPEAT!

    Those kids are so good at taking naps now and going to sleep it gets me jealous! Seb doesn’t fight me any more on the nap issue, and Deets just sleeps fine on her own now. On to the point here. SLEEP! It was so much easier to go to sleep as a child. Lately, and when I say lately I mean the past decade… I lay down, close my eyes, toss and turn for an hour and maybe get some sleep. I hate it, sometimes I open my eyes after an hour and I’m mentally and physically drained but cannot sleep to save my life! I know there’s a million things going through my mind. At some points I just psych myself out with events that can never actually happen– real life nightmare-type stuff and I get my heart racing so intensely as if I just ran a half marathon. Whyyyyy do I do this to myself?! I feel the tingling and pinching running up and down my left arm.

    I’ve stopped doing several things after a lot of reading… I stopped checking my phone, especially when I am already in bed and it’s dark. That screen light messes with my eyes. I stopped watching any shows or movies that make me think too much afterwards like Orange is the New Black and Law & Order SVU (sometimes just the theme song of that show will get my heart racing.. I’m the worst!), I try to take a hot shower right before to calm myself, nothing worked!

    UNTIL.

    I came across this blog post a couple weeks ago and can I just say IT WORKS and it’s saved me?! It’s called the 4-7-8 breathing trick.

    1. BREATHE IN FOR 4 SECONDS
    2. HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR 7 SECONDS
    3. RELEASE YOUR BREATH SLOWLY OUT OF YOUR MOUTH FOR 8 SECONDS
    4. REPEAT

    I kid you not, I never make it past 7 or 8 of these counts and I am knocked out. The studied combination of numbers studied by licensed wellness practitioners have a chemical-like effect on our brains and cause our heart rates to slow down. I wish I found out about this 10 years ago! I realize that all the anxiety speeds up my heart rate and all the thoughts running through my brain don’t help. But when all I am concentrating on is counting, it makes sense why this kind of thing works! Technically when you’re stressed out (for whatever reason, at this point it might just be because I am a woman close to her 30’s and we just do this thing called STRESS really well) you aren’t breathing correctly to begin with. Throughout my day now I have to remind myself to breathe in with my nose and out with my mouth constantly. It’s troublesome at times because hours will go by and I will think, “damn! Am I breathing!?”

    Here’s a little copy/paste of how that blog post explains it:

    When you feel stressed or anxious, adrenaline courses through your veins, your heart beats at a rapid rate, and your breathing becomes quick and shallow. So before I get into the specifics behind how the 4-7-8 breathing trick works, I wanted to explain in my own words what it feels like when you try it. To me, the effect of the breathing technique feels almost like a sedative drug, because in order to hold your breath for seven seconds and then to exhale for eight—when your breath is so shallow and short—your body is forced to slow your heart rate. It has no choice. Holding your breath, and then slowly, deliberately exhaling for eight seconds, causes a chain reaction. It feels like going from a mad-dash sprint to a finish line to a slow, leisurely, calming stroll through the park.

     When you first start, you’ll be desperate to just take in another breath, or you’ll want to speed up your counting, but if you stick to the numbers (or at least try to), and don’t take any breaks (in other words, consecutively repeat the 4-7-8 without resuming regular breathing), you can literally feel your heart rate slow down, your mind get quieter, and your whole body physically relax. It washes over you like a calming, relaxing drug. I can never remember getting past the first set of 4-7-8.

     Do you know the feeling of being put under by anesthesia, where you are conscious, and the next thing you remember is waking up? That’s what this is like for me: As soon as I start the practice, the next thing I remember, I’m waking up in the morning and can’t even remember beginning the 4-7-8 count the night before. Crazy. 

    People who are stressed or anxious are actually chronically under-breathing, because stressed people breathe shortly and shallowly, and often even unconsciously hold their breath. By extending your inhale to a count of four, you are forcing yourself to take in more oxygen, allowing the oxygen to affect your bloodstream by holding your breath for seven seconds, and then emitting carbon dioxide from your lungs by exhaling steadily for eight seconds. The technique will effectively slow your heart rate and increase oxygen in your bloodstream, and may even make you feel slightly lightheaded which contributes to the mild sedative-like effect. It will instantly relax your heart, mind, and overall central nervous system because you are controlling the breath versus continuing to breathe short, shallow gasps of air.

    So I figured I would share this with you on the in case that you might be experiencing the same thing. I love that this technique has worked for me. The first few nights I counted a little longer, but then by night 4 or 5 I start the count and don’t remember having to do it more than 3x. Even after this continues to prove that it works, I doubt it right before I pass out then wake up with the same thought: whoa! That worked again! There was a time in my younger 20’s where the sleep deprivation was so bad that I went to the doctor and was given anti-depressants and sleeping aids. I didn’t take the anti-depressants because I didn’t want to become addicted or dependent to prescription meds  at a young age however I did take the sleep meds for a couple weeks, which can also be addicting… I would wake up drowsy and sluggish, I’d have a super dry mouth and a headache, but those were the side effects apparently. All the side effects weren’t even worth it. I’m glad I had the know-how at the time to just quit with those and tough it out a little, and I am so happy that this “breathing trick” has come in to my life! Please try it if you ever have a tough time sleeping and let me know what you think!

    Happy sleeping! <3

     

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