INSOMNIA - How to Get Better Sleep

April 01, 2021 Debra Jones RM with Jody Boynton Episode 11
INSOMNIA - How to Get Better Sleep
Show Notes Transcript

Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause you to wake too early, unable to get back to sleep. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your quality of life. In this episode, we discuss the reasons why you might not be sleeping well and what you can do about it. Be sure to listen to the end because I have a gift for you!

Connect with Jody www.jodyboynton.com

Connect with Debra www.debrajones.ca

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Thanks for listening, I really do appreciate it!
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Debra Jones
insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep or cause you to wake too early, unable to get back to sleep. 
Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood, but also your health, work performance, and quality of life. In this episode we discuss the reasons why you might not

be sleeping well and what you can do about it - and be sure to listen to the end because i have a gift for you


sleep is one of the most critical

components to our health

and how we function in life. Here to

share his wisdom

is my good friend jody boynton

who i introduced you to in episode 5

when we talked about exercise.

jody is a fitness and nutrition expert

and a personal trainer with over 20

years experience

in helping people get and stay healthy.

welcome to the show

jody boynton. 

Jody Boynton
hey debra nice to see you

Debra Jones
nice to see you too. so jody,

we were talking about this earlier. The

issue of sleep deprivation isn't

something that humans

have always struggled with and

when i did a little bit of research i

was discovering that

years ago, hundreds of years ago when we


cavemen and women and we would be

out there hunting and gathering all day

and running from

animals and and for our life and then we


sit by the fire and relax at the end of

the day have something to eat

and then go to sleep sleep through the

night and wake up

refreshed ready to do it all again and

i'm wondering the relevance of

our modern day life

how would you say that affects our sleep


Jody Boynton
before the industrial age we only had we

had candlelight

generally so and people still had to do

their own washing which was highly


had to bring their own water and still

had a very physical life

which was part of their existence up

until the start of the industrial age

when life got

quote unquote simpler but now that we

have all this stuff

in our lives it's actually affecting our

sleep patterns

so our our technology our entertainment

our tv

our stress levels and our lack of

physical fitness is actually

contributing to our inability to sleep

properly and consistently

Debra Jones
in my healing practice i've noticed

that sleep deprivation is one of the key


for creating an imbalance energetically

and physically in the body what are you

seeing with your clients

Jody Boynton
sleep has such a huge impact on

performance and strength

it affects all our body systems from

having a heart rate be higher our

resting heart rate is higher our

cortisol levels stay higher

so we're in chronic stress mode in fight

or flight rather than actually

rest and digest relax mode which

incidentally turns out fat burning so

it becomes this feedback loop that never

allows us to quite

get caught up and feel normal

Debra Jones
so what is normal 

Jody Boynton
normal sleep patterns


generally seven to nine is where 85 to


of the people fall in there's some

people that say they can live with four

most of us need seven to nine hours


so um a good way to know is if you're

sleepy after lunch

if you're sleepy after lunch chances are

you're sleep deprived

and you've racked up some sleep debt

Debra Jones
sleep debt what's that

Jody Boynton
sleep debt is something we accumulate

over time so if we're

consistently not getting enough rest we

kind of have this bank that maxes at

about 50 hours of sleep debt

we can't bank millions of hours to sleep

debt but 50 hours

so that means to bring you back into

balance where you're not sleepy during

the day and you have your full energy

you'd have to go to bed one to two hours

earlier for four to five weeks in order

to catch up on all that sleep time

Debra Jones

Jody Boynton
that's a considerable investment of

changing your schedule yes

Debra Jones
uh are there any other solutions if we

can't fit that into our schedule 

Jody Boynton
stay in

bed longer


Debra Jones
it's challenging so other than

feeling sleepy after lunch are there any

other clues

to tell us that we're headed towards

sleep deprivation

Jody Boynton
just kind of fatigue brain fog is a big

one that

clients experience like you just can't

quite think clearly

just not having your usual get up and go

and strength and

we usually mask it with caffeine or

other stimulants

so we might not necessarily be aware of

it because we have our normal

our normal ways of coping so that we

don't necessarily know that we are

tired because we're always charging

ourselves up with sugar

caffeine or something as

a crutch to to help us get through 

Debra Jones

maybe at the weekend when we get a

chance to sleep in

maybe catch up on some of that debt


Jody Boynton
yes not enough to make a dent though we

need longer than a weekend

Debra Jones
do you have anything to share about

some other aspects of our modern day


that can affect our sleep 

Jody Boynton
just our our

sleep environment so we live in a much

noisier busier world

most of us probably have some kind of

hum or some kind of

siren if we live in a city or just

something that always

doesn't necessarily make us consciously

awake but it breaks us out of our sleep


so things like noise having a bedroom is

too warm doesn't allow us to get fully

into that rem

Debra Jones
so you talked about temperature

bedroom temperature is there is there an


bedroom temperature?

Jody Boynton
 uh generally 67

degrees fahrenheit or about 19 degrees


is a comfortable sleep temperature for

most people

some people tend to run a little hot

they even have cooling mattresses and

cooling pillows and that could be a time

of life thing or it could be just your


but finding a comfortable temperature

for you

Debra Jones
and what about lights in the room

or through coming through the window for


Jody Boynton

light is such a huge thing if you live

in the city you don't actually have true

darkness like

even on blackout blinds you still have

that white line on the side of the


your mind still perceives that an alarm

on your alarm clock

too close to the bed that can actually

you can actually perceive that through

your eyelids

um which might affect our melatonin

production which we need darkness to

produce which helps us

sleep better serotonin turns into

melatonin and darkness

so happy turns to sleepy in the absence

of light

Debra Jones
for me i've noticed a big difference

when i have an alarm clock that i can


the light off and so that

my room is totally dark and so i found

that that made a big difference

to my sleep patterns 

Jody Boynton
um consistency is


regular sleep wake up times and regular

go to bed times

is huge in patterning and getting your

body used to a regular rhythm

we have a biorhythm that happens so if

we're constantly sleeping in on the

weekends and then staying up late on the


and then going through the week and then

have to get up earlier than we're normal

and then staying up late and just

constantly doing this up and down

we never find a pattern that our body's

actually comfortable with so it's always

it's always in that kind of ready and

aware mode

so it's much harder for us to accept

access those deep sleep cycles

we get different sleep cycles through

the night we usually get one

like our hormone cycle our growth

hormone comes up um we go into deeper

rest and different levels of our brain

waves happen

and it happens in cycles of about three

hours generally for most people

so if you're only sleeping six and a

half hours you only get in two cycles

if you sleep in nine hours you get into

three cycles right so if you're

if you're not constantly have three


in a set point you're probably missing

some important sleep cycles

and once we're in our deep sleep our

cerebral spinal fluid in our brain kind

of circulates and clears out all the


so all the accumulated um

waste from the cells and the activity

there's some

evidence that it could have something to

do with plaquing in

uh degenerate brain diseases so we need


deep sleep to actually help clear our

brain and flush it out 

Debra Jones
so if we're not

getting that deep

sleep what's happening 

Jody Boynton
we'll end up with

that brain fog

right that you can't concentrate your

mind is dirty it's it's

all junked up with all this leftover

waste that our body hasn't been able to

clear yet

Debra Jones
and if we put other things into our body


alcohol and and caffeine which our body

needs to

uh work harder to to process that


so we're not if we're not sleeping

enough so basically we're backing up

with toxin

Jody Boynton
yeah that's that's what happens and then

we're constantly kind of like a little

foggy and looking for that

that sharpness that we're missing.

alcohol is a little

double-edged sword people say it helps

them fall asleep and it's it's they've

done studies and

true it does help you fall asleep um

if you take too much alcohol it's gonna

affect your sleep cycle so you're gonna

wake up

usually an hour and a half to three

hours after you go to bed

and then you're wide awake so it kind of

messes up some of that flow

but one drink for most people fine

relaxes them

helps you feel calm and actually helps


crash sometimes of course if you're

using it regularly in abuse then

you know it's like using caffeine all

the time you're going to use lose that


Debra Jones
when you're awake at night and and i

find a lot of clients

are sharing this particular story with

me that

when they do wake up they can't get back


sleep again do you have any

suggestions or tips on what could help

in that


Jody Boynton
 tune into yourself and see why

are you awake

is something hurting like every time you

roll over does your shoulder hurt is

that something you need to address do

you have an injury or back pain or

something that you can

maybe take the steps to address to feel

better so that that pain doesn't wake

you up every night

um is there a regular noise that's in

your environment that wakes you up

is there a particular thought that you

keep ruminating about that keeps waking

you up like there's

once you identify your problem um or

what you think your problems are then

you can start

taking steps to address them um

sometimes it's good to write

a worry journal so a little quiet time

before bed winding down

low light you and a little notepad and


big worry and then try to write down a

couple actionable thoughts

how you can deal with that problem that

you're you're ruminating about

it's supposed to be like a brain dump so

once you get out of your head

your mind can move on because it's in

your brain it's already solved because

you've already got solutions on the


and maybe you can let that go a little


Debra Jones

i actually share that idea with some of

my clients but what i suggest to them

is not right before bed because then you

can start thinking about

all of the problems and they'll sit in

your subconscious as well

so maybe even you know a couple of hours

before you know that you're going to be

getting ready for bed

that schedule that you've set for

yourself to to go to bed at a certain

time each night

and and to to offload as you said to

brain dump

some of those things that are on your

mind and if you can come up with


that's awesome and i can see why that

would quieten the mind

i would imagine that after doing that we

could do some other things

to really quieten ourselves down like

maybe some meditation

or listening to some gentle music do you

have any other suggestions 

Jody Boynton
yeah exactly

what i was going to say if you're

done that process and you find yourself

awake at night just do some deep

breathing honestly

10 deep breaths if you get to 10 and you

don't and you get through that exercise

a couple times

get up and do something else don't turn

on any screens

pick a low light and a book that isn't

too interesting

worry less about the sleep that's the

worst thing you can do is think oh god

i'm not sleeping i'm not sleeping i'm

not sleeping i'm not sleeping

turn your alarm clock to the wall so you

don't wake up every time and go oh god

i've only slept an hour

right so if you if you take the thought


i need to do this out and take that

pressure off yourself

your body will do what it's going to do

that day but you're still going to take

steps to make it better the next day

but the secret to getting over that

insomnia or sleep pattern

is when you get up in the morning put it

out of your mind that you didn't sleep

for three hours

get on with your day don't use that as

excuse to be

whatever because if that's always in

your mind you're gonna

you're gonna be aware that oh i should

feel tired so then you feel tired

but if you just get up and go guess what

today might be a really good day

give it a chance give it give it a

chance don't kill it before it starts

Debra Jones
yeah well everybody has sleep issues

from time to time

what i've noticed that helps for me

number one

as i mentioned before a dark room and


the the temperature a lower temperature

cooler temperature than

the daytime house temperature i find


but there's a couple of things that i've

noticed and i share with my clients

and one of them is to put your

thoughts in an invisible basket on the


so that when the thought comes into your

mind see the thought isn't going to go

away just because you say get out of my

head i don't want to think of you right


right because thoughts are important

they they want to be they want to make

sure you don't forget something or they

want to make sure that you haven't


you know that they're going to be taken

care of problems to be solved yes

right and so what i suggest is put those

thoughts in the basket

in a safe place so that they can wait


morning then you can take them out of

the basket

and and address them because in the

middle of the night are you really going

to solve any of those problems

i love that i love that i think that's

great if you were to put the light on

and write them down that is one thing

but then you've got the light

issue you've you've given your eyes

some light which then your body starts

to think oh the sun's come up

it's morning and another thing is

instead of sitting up and getting up and

walking around

stay still stay in your sleeping


and don't move from it unless you really

have to

because if you do then you've told your

mind that there's another activity other

than sleeping

when your mind wants to go on to the

thoughts you know maybe something that

you did write down in your

in your worry journal and it wants to

start thinking about that issue

what i have tried and it does work is


of a song probably a song from childhood

or christmas carol

or a happy birthday song or just

something that you don't have to think


and just sort of sing that song to


it's not activating your mind but it

it will prevent you from putting your

thoughts onto the

thought that keeps you awake at night

interesting I

Jody Boynton
i usually get it the other way for me

it's like an ear worm so it'll be like

one line of a song and it just repeats

over and over and over and over and over

and over and over

and over and over but i can't shut it



Debra Jones
so that keeps you awake because you're

listening to it 

Jody Boynton
that keeps me awake so

it so i'm

doing that in my head so i go back to my

breathing that works for me

Debra Jones
ah okay yeah the breathing so yeah

there's different

different things that i share with my

clients about breathing and

as you mentioned one of them about

counting to ten so you breathe in

and think one and you breathe out and

you think two

and you breathe in and think three and

you've got to get to 10

but if you can't reach 10 without your

mind going on to something

then you start again from the very

beginning and the reason

uh being is your mind is too busy so you

just keep doing that activity

until you can actually get to 10 and

maybe do it in a few rounds and i find

that helps me fall back to sleep

again afterwards 

Jody Boynton
once we normalize our

sleep patterns

we start that wind down process so what

we need is some sleep hygiene for most


so that just means a regular routine

that they do something that's centering

and grounding like um

a ritual they do before bed so you

brush your teeth you have the lights low

you have the sound low

you have your book and you have this

pattern or routine that you do every

night so our body knows by taking those


it's preparing for rest but if you're

out late and then rush home and then

have a shower and hop into bed

and then the next night you go to bed at

like seven because you're tired from the

night before you don't have any


your body doesn't know where normal is

so that's it's a sleep hygiene thing so

an hour before bed turn the lights down

a little lower

don't have bright fluorescents don't use

your screens they have blue light which

can affect our melatonin production

and then if you're a reader read but

don't read something it's going to be so

engaging you're going to be so excited

to read it

something a little lighter or if you're

not a reader

some soft music or something just in the

background nothing too stimulating

some people enjoy a white noise machine

or a fan

and just that steady sound kind of

resets your brain patterns a little bit

and gets them to calm down feeling that

a hot shower before bed or a hot bath

it's kind of relaxing if you had some

epsom salts in there you might absorb

some magnesium which is very relaxing


smooth and skeletal muscles and really

helps us relax

there's certain supplements that some

people use but that's a double-edged

sword because

it doesn't work for everybody um i like

a sleepy time tea blend

works well for me it's got some herbs in

it uh lemon balm is actually

really great and relaxing little things

that are part of your routine so

for me hour before bed i brush my teeth

at the start because mint can be

stimulating for some people

something to think about so if you're

using like a really minty mouthwash you

might feel all fresh and awake

rather than sleepy and sleepy and ready

for bed but if you have a date

or a bed mate you gotta pick your

poisons there figurative battles

Debra Jones
right sex or sleep is the only reason to

be in bed

you don't you don't sit there and watch

tv you don't

work in bed it's it's got a purpose it's

for our rest

so again it's that patterning thing and

training our mind that that is

where we go to rest 

Debra Jones
yeah so the bedroom

is just

just for those activities and and

nothing else

the the idea of uh what you watch

on the television for instance before


that makes a big difference i find if if

you've been watching an

action or a thriller movie or even the


that can create some stress levels in

your body that

you know no wonder you can't fall asleep

or if

it's in sitting in your subconscious


Jody Boynton
well it cranks your adrenaline up we're

ready to go it's that fight or flight

we're not in the movie but we're

participating in it

right so it's that can have an impact

for sure it gets you all wound up

or same as listening to the wrong kind

of music right yeah so

so whatever we can do for relaxation

may be some kind of a ritual that we

give ourselves

Debra Jones
and it's that uh consistency of the


that tells the body now is the time to

wind down now is the time to go to sleep

and i guess then that

sets off the melatonin levels in in in

the right balance

would that be accurate 

Jody Boynton
yeah it's it's

getting that rhythm in our body right so

the lights are low or melatonin could be

produced we're in a dark room

we're taking all the steps we can at

that moment to ensure we have a good

sleep but there's also

things we do during the day has an

impact as well right um

having a big heavy dinner so our stomach

is like active while we're in bed

and then we have reflux or burping or

those kind of things that can have a big

impact as well

or eating too much at night so you have

dinner and then you snack for an hour or

two while watching tv and then you think

you're going to go to bed

you don't need a full stomach to sleep

that being said blood sugar can affect

our our sleep as well

so if you're on a low carb diet you're

having trouble sleeping

you might find you have a greater effect

if you add some starchier carbs to your

dinner that

at night it's if we have a low blood

sugar then our body thinks okay well we

need to wake up and eat

but we don't necessarily register it as


Debra Jones
so what are your thoughts about exercise

Jody Boynton
i was just going there yeah um exercise

is a huge thing

so if you have restless legs there's

lots of reasons for restless legs but if


body just feels like it wants to be

moving maybe it should have been moving

during the day

if you think about going back to our

hunter-gatherer lifestyle

um or even pre-industrial age we worked

for a living

we had to work all day in order to put

the meals on the table

and survive because it was a much

harsher climate so when we went to bed

we were tired but if we're if we're

sitting all day

we're not walking anymore and we're

driving everywhere

we haven't really expended any energy so

our body hasn't really had that

that release um

to actually make us tired

Debra Jones
it has no reason for us to be tired

because we haven't done anything to

tire us out 

Jody Boynton
exactly exercise also helps

you know normalize your blood sugar

patterns and um

help with that and can help with our

cortisol levels as well there's all


feel good emote endorphins to get

produced from exercise and higher

aerobics so it's the

the ebb and flow exercise also does a


to reset our bodies so if that's one

step we take during the day as well

um then it gives us one more

one more coin in the chance of having a

good sleep pile than not

Debra Jones
is there anything that you really want

to get across to our listener

about how they can manage

and create better sleep pattern in their


Jody Boynton
routine is number one if you're a night


and then you sleep in in the day and

that's a comfortable pattern for you

on the normal and it works with your

lifestyle great

if you have to get up early for work but

you'd rather be sleeping in on the


then you might have to adjust your

schedule to being a morning person


so you wake up at a regular time you go

to bed at a regular time and after about

two weeks

you can change patterns from being a

night owl to a morning person

but it's that consistency that's going

to make a bigger difference than

sleeping on the weekends

the consistency and the pattern so that

our body knows now it's time to sleep


so it goes into the mode of creating

restful sleep for us it's it's it's the

best start rather than troubleshooting

start with that um if that's not working

then you can look at your

sleep hygiene and what your routine is

at night and what your

what else you can do to make that uh

more positive towards a good night's


but just a consistent start and end time

for sleep

can often have the biggest impact for

people awesome

Debra Jones
well thanks ever so much for sharing

your wisdom on the subject

Jody Boynton
well thank you thanks for having me it's

always fun to see you

Debra Jones
keep listening for summary an


and a special gift for you


here are the main points number one

stay active regular activity helps

promote a good night's sleep by


energy schedule exercise during the day

or at least a few hours before bed and

be sure

to avoid stimulating activities before

bedtime number two

stick to a sleep schedule

keep your bedtime and wake time

consistent from day to day

including on weekends aim to get

seven to nine hours of sleep or two to

three sleep

cycles of three hours each

number three pay off your sleep

debt we can still function with

50 hours of sleep debt but after that

you'll need to pay down that debt to get

back to having your full energy

you could try to go to bed one to two

hours earlier

for four to five weeks

number four avoid or limit

sugar caffeine alcohol

and nicotine all of these can make it

harder to sleep

and effects can last for several hours

number five don't put up with pain

if a painful condition bothers you talk

to your health professional about


for pain relievers that can control pain

while you sleep

number six check your medications

if you take medications regularly check

with your doctor to see if they can

contain caffeine

or other stimulants that may be

contributing to your insomnia

number seven avoid naps

naps can make it harder to fall asleep

at night

and if you can't get by without one try

to limit a nap

to no more than 30 minutes and don't nap

after 3 pm

and number 8 avoid large meals and

beverages before bed

stabilize your blood sugar levels in

your diet and drink

less liquid before bedtime so that you

won't have to urinate as often

so points to consider in the evening are

number one wind down one to two hours

before bed

turn the lights down low and avoid

fluorescent lighting

eliminate screen time as the blue light

that screens emit

can reduce melatonin production

try to put your worries and planning


keep a worry journal write down your big


and a couple of actionable steps

number two avoid over stimulation

watching action or thriller movies or

even the news before bed

can raise adrenaline levels and reduce

melatonin levels

number three create a relaxing bedtime


take a hot shower or bath read light

subject matter

listen to soft music practice breathing


yoga meditation or prayer

and number four make your bedroom

comfortable for sleep

only use your bedroom for sex or sleep

keep it dark and quiet and at a lower


and here are the main points to think

about at bedtime

number one avoid knowing the time

hide all the clocks in your bedroom

including your wristwatch

and cellphone so you don't worry about

what time it is

or how much sleep you're missing

number two put your thoughts in an

imaginary basket

your thoughts are important let them

wait safely in the basket until morning

number three stay in your sleeping

position if you wake up and you can't

get back

to sleep sitting up or getting out of


can interrupt your sleep mode

number four prevent your mind from


into the worry or concern when you

notice the thought coming

divert your attention onto a song or


and actively avoid thinking the

worrisome thought

and number five focus on your breath

practice conscious breathing techniques

to lower your heart rate

use progressive muscle relaxation


to release stress and tension in the

body and mind

so that night after my conversation with

jody boynton

i woke at 3 33 in the morning and i had

an opportunity

to try some of our suggestions so

first i tried the 10 count breath

but i found that i couldn't reach 10

after having many tries

but while doing the exercise i realized

that the

depth of my breath was shallow and

that's when i remembered a tool

that i use with most of my clients in my

healing center

it is so effective that i can get

clients sleeping

and often snoring within 10 minutes

so it works to quieten and refocus the


control our negative or worrying


and it helps to release stored tension

in the body

because we're using progressive muscle


and breathing techniques that lower the

heart rate

this has become my signature tool my

most valuable tool in my professional

tool belt

so bookmark it or mark it as a favorite

for the next time you suffer from


but first a word of caution if you're

listening to this podcast while driving

pause it now for obvious reasons and

listen to it at a more appropriate time

and lastly i've omitted the music

at the end so you can use this to drift

into a beautiful rejuvenating sleep

and stay there here's my gift

to you


lie comfortably and allow your eyes to


tell yourself that you're in a safe


and in your imagination take yourself

off to a place that is incredibly


somewhere you've been before perhaps

or somewhere in your imagination

somewhere safe and warm

and comfortable

and as you breathe

slowly and deeply

when you breathe in you can breathe down

into your belly

and when you breathe out breathe out

all the air

just notice your breathing

the depth the pace

and slow it down slightly

and breathe a little more deeply

and as you do you feel your body start

to relax

as you relax your shoulders

you relax your jaw

you relax your face

muscles around your eyes

you allow your head to feel heavy

breathing deeply

in your imagination notice a basket on

the floor

this is your special basket

and in it you can place all your current


and concerns and worries

place them all safely in the basket

beside you

you don't need them right now and they

can stay

safely in this basket

until we're finished

and as another thought or concern comes

to mind

place it in the basket

as you focus on your breath

breathing slowly

and deeply

feeling safe

and warm and comfortable

as your shoulders are relaxing you relax

your arms

and your elbows

your hands and your fingertips

breathing deeply

feeling your chest expand as you breathe


feeling your belly expand as you breathe


and feeling your chest and your belly

contract as you breathe out

feeling warm

and heavy

and safe

putting any thoughts in the basket as

they come to mind

simply notice them and place them in the


as you breathe deeply

allowing your muscles to relax

relaxing your stomach

relaxing your hips

relaxing your thighs

relaxing your knees

feeling warm and heavy

and safe

breathing deeply

relaxing your legs

your ankles

your feet

and your toes

feeling warm

and heavy

and safe

you allow yourself to drift

in this safe space

breathing deeply

as you relax deeply now

as you drift further and

further away