Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | 11:41 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with comedy hypnotist Marc Savard, who onstage can you put deep into sleep to do some crazy things, but can also help you with real sleep offstage.
Getting paid to make people do ridiculous things is the life of a comedy hypnotist, but when dealing with the power of the mind, there is more to it than just laughs. Sixty million Americans complain about frequent or chronic sleep problems. Even though hypnosis is not sleep, the two are closely related.
America isn’t suffering from insomnia; it’s suffering from information overload.
In the next 24 hours, you will take in as much information as a person in Medieval Times absorbed in their entire lifetime. This deluge of local news, email, family issues, work details, phone calls, finances and world events pouring into your brain must all be processed by your body.
From the nervous system that controls your muscles and organs to your hormone production and disease-fighting capabilities, information is impacting you physically and dictating how you feel. So, when it comes to a mind/body state like sleep, managing information becomes critical. You can take control.
Here are seven powerful techniques for dealing with information that will have you shaking hands with the sandman in no time.
1. Put Yourself on an Information Diet
If you have difficulty getting and staying asleep, it is likely that you are suffering from information indigestion. You are taking in too much information too late in the day and having to digest it all night long.
Skip the 10 o’clock news, miss the evening reality TV show and, whenever possible, deal with money and family issues while the sun is shining. Instead, let your body process the information you’ve accumulated all day by relaxing in a quiet space, preferably with the lights turned down low.
The closer it gets to bedtime, the more quiet and dark your space should become and the less information you should take in. Two hours before bedtime, put down the phone, move away from the television and make a conscious effort to slow down, unwind and call it “game over” until tomorrow.
2. Control Worry Intentionally
Get your worrying out of the way long before you go to bed. Hours before sleep, select a worry spot that is anywhere but your bed or bedroom and set a time limit on how long you have to worry. Then go to your worry spot and worry all you want. Be true to your pessimistic side. Really get into worrying and exaggerate your problems until you “awfulize” yourself into a tizzy.
When your time limit is up, make a commitment to leave your worry there. At night, if you catch yourself worrying yourself awake, stop and remember that you have “been there, done that” earlier in the day.
3. Relax Into Sleep
Your mind cannot be anxious if your body is relaxed. To calm your mind into sleep, you have to learn how to relax your body. In fact, learn to relax your muscles on demand, and you will never miss another night’s sleep again. The process is simple and habit forming.
Once you’re ready to go to sleep, concentrate on relaxing your muscles in groups of three. Breathe in and as you exhale relax your feet, calves and knees. Move on to your thighs, hips and gluteus, breathing in and relaxing when you exhale.
Take your time. Focus on the feeling of relaxing and work in these sets of three until you have relaxed the muscles from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Because there is nothing for your analytical side to do, your conscious mind shuts down, and you to drift off to sleep.
4. Control Comes From Letting Go
Sleep is a natural process. Even flowers do it. This fact is easy to forget once you had a few sleepless nights in a row. So, you have to re-learn how to allow this natural process to take over. As night comes on, the sleep deprived begin to question their natural ability to find dreamland and become vigilant fortunetellers; constantly checking for signs of sleepiness and making dire predictions about their inability to function tomorrow if they don’t sleep tonight. Like the proverbial “watched pot,” you will never get to sleep continually checking its status.
Stop scaring yourself awake by catching these types of worrisome notions and destroying them with imagination. Shoot them into space. Set them on fire. Kiss them goodbye. Use any image you choose, but cancel the thought. Then focus your attention on the feeling of relaxation. Remember sleep is something you were born knowing how to do. Your body can find the way to La La Land. Trust it.
5. Daytime Decompression
Decide to decompress and de-stress sometime earlier in the day.
Everybody has a stress vessel where they stuff the overload of information from each day. Some stress vessels are the size of a teacup, while others are as large as an Olympic swimming pool. he problem is that no matter what the size, when they are full, the next drop of stress starts spilling over the side.
If you want to sleep at night, it is a wise idea to empty out your stress vessel sometime during the day. Exercise, walking, power napping, meditation and self-hypnosis are all excellent ways to draw down your stress level. Download your free self-confidence hypnosis track on MarcSavard.com. Discharge stress during the day in a controlled fashion, and you won’t have to as much information to process each night.
6. Do Not Strangle Your Mate
Don’t vent your frustration at your partner just because they sleep well. When you don’t sleep enough, it is natural to get cranky. And when you are tossing and turning next to someone sawing logs or making the comfy sounds of a slumbering 2-year-old, it is easy to get angry.
Getting mad at your spouse because they are good at catching zzz’s will only stimulate your nervous system and keep you awake. Resist the temptation to commit a homicide and try earplugs or a white noise machine. Pleasurable repetitive sound dulls the conscious mind, drowns out your partner and allows sleep to arrive.
7. Stop Taking the Late in the Day Stimulants
Chocolate and soda are loaded with caffeine. Consuming alcohol is like dumping gasoline on the fire in your heart. Stimulants can even be found in “so-called” health drinks. If you take these substances in the hours before bedtime, you will forfeit the time you spend in the deepest sleep cycles.
Make a commitment to be stimulant free starting around noon. Pass on the 3 o’clock latte, skip the red wine at dinnertime and make your evening snack fruit and yogurt. Avoid the chemicals that jolt your nervous system, and you will slip into delicious slumber as soon as your body makes contact with the bed.
Sleep deep, Las Vegas!
Check out our other guest columns today from landscape photographer Jeff Mitchum and Sugar Factory sweetheart Charissa Davidovici and Thursday “Million Dollar Quartet” stars Marc Donovan and Robert Britton Lyons and Comme Ca executive chef David Myers.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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