Sleep: A Question of Priorities

A client getting enough sleep to conquer their new years goals.

How To Help Your Clients Get More Sleep Consistently

Not getting enough sleep is the worst, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s work or dealing with a newborn there are a plethora of things that fight for attention and move sleep to the back of the priority list. Other than just feeling tired there are numerous things that deteriorate when you are not getting sleep consistently. One of the first things to deteriorate is the balance between the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. This can be thought of as the body’s balance between stress and rest. When the balance between these two systems gets off track it can cause a host of issues, such as digestion and detox problems stressing the body further than just simple lack of sleep.

“How useful will you be for your family when you’re mentally foggy?”

Why Your Clients Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep . . . Priorities

When working with clients that aren’t getting enough sleep OPEX Coach Sean McGovern says “it comes down to helping clients identify and design their day around their priorities.” In a world where time equals money people are trading their precious sleep for money. “This is a question of values” says McGovern. “I get it, working to support your family takes priority over sleep but, how useful will you be to your family when you’re mentally foggy or dealing with long-term health issues?” In order to be at their best for their loved ones, your clients need sleep and need it consistently. In order to support your clients, you need to understand their priorities, learn how to define your client’s priorities in this free course.

Own Your Calendar

Consistent sleep doesn’t just happen, clients need to plan for it. This starts with the relationship between stress and rest. In order to smoothly transition into sleep, one has to support the body’s rest (parasympathetic nervous system) by eliminating stressful stimulus on the body before they plan to sleep (I.e. if you plan to go to bed by 10 pm, make sure you are eliminating stressful stimuli by 8 pm). This is where owning your calendar comes in, stress is a part of life you can’t avoid, but you can manage it. If your clients are struggling to get enough consistent sleep, McGovern recommends this practice. Go through and have them calendar all of the events in their whole day and mark stressful events as red and non-stressful events as green. This gives the client a visual representation of their stress. Now that the clients have a visual representation of their stress it is time to manage it.

The Practice of Managing Stress

  1. Front load stress when possible
    • Dealing with stressful events earlier in the day when your sympathetic nervous system is active puts the body in a position to rest later in the day before it is time to sleep.
  2. Find times in the day to destress
    • These don’t have to be major events. McGovern’s go to is meal time. When eating a meal calm down and be mindful, doing this will turn on the parasympathetic nervous system and put you into ‘rest and digest” mode.
  3. Be mindful
    • Once the major stressors have been dealt with (typically the work day) it is time to be mindful. Being mindful will help ease the transition into sleep and allow the sympathetic nervous system to switch off after the work day. Being mindful will help avoid spiking stress levels during a time of rest.

Final Thoughts

Sleep is important but one night won’t make or break a client, the most important aspect of sleep is consistency night in and night out. Ensure your clients are consistently getting enough sleep this year with the OPEX Basic Life Style Guidelines (BLGs). These guidelines will help you balance your client’s stress and rest, creating a healthy rhythm. Learn the OPEX BLG’s and how to implement them with your clients in the free Coach’s Toolkit

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