USMC Specific

Sleep. . .Easy ©

Sleep. . .Easy ©
by Susie Mantell, award-winning author of the soothing relaxation CD, "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace"

[Find more of Susie's FREE stress tips at ]

Dear Friends at,

*I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I*m awake, you know?* - Ernest Hemingway

*Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.* -Victor Hugo

I know. You crawl into bed longing for the sweet respite of deep, replenishing sleep, close your eyes, snuggle in. . .and the movie in your head begins. The average person needs a lot more sleep than (s)he gets, and we*re paying for it. CEO*s and submariners, surgeons, inner-city homeless parents and suburban soccer moms, all report difficulty falling and/or staying asleep and restless nights, waking up feeling like they*ve been run over by a truck. Grandma was right, but sleep deprivation is pervasive, in a culture demanding more and more of us all.

*...sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care.* -William Shakespeare ( sleave: Archaic, a skein.)

Mother Nature has hard-wired us with a very clever stress-hormone response system providing reserves of energy for emergencies. When habitually sleep-deprived, the system is literally *stressed* beyond efficiency. Overtaxed, depleted, we become susceptible to illness, depression, forgetfulness, irritability, pain. Self-esteem and positive outlook may be compromised. In studies of fatigue-at-the-wheel, delayed reflexes were found to equal or exceed those of driving while intoxicated. This over-draft of the sleep account is resulting in a society working longer hours, often exhausted, achy, ill, and in some cases, more than a little *cranky.*

Sleepless in. . .Wherever? 20+ Tips for Catching zzzzz*s

Worry and mental chatter drain energy and focus. At bedtime we expect to suddenly screech to a halt a day that*s taken us in twelve directions, sometimes at 90 miles an hour, and fall asleep---- just like that. It is always good to rule out, or address, any medical cause, but following are some common, everyday impediments to restful sleep, and simple, drug-free suggestions to make The Sandman*s job easier, and help you to enjoy more peaceful , restorative sleep.

Woe is You?

Make a *worry list.* Leave it on your night table. Often when my mind is racing at bedtime, it*s full of things I*m trying to remember and frankly, I only need to remember to call the plumber once -- not 17 times. By committing worries to paper we can release them. They require attention, just not right now.

Muffle Mental Chatter

1. Inhaling deeply, image shimmering light cascading over your head, shoulders, dissolving words, images, any aches or worries along the way.
2. Visualize bits of chatter floating on a raft, downstream and out of sight.
3. Sail worries out a window in your mind on long, silk scarves.

*I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.* - Henry David Thoreau

Work-Related Stress

Spend time before bed doing something relaxing, non-work-related (and not on the computer, which can stimulate brain activity.) Try a warm bath, journaling, a *brain candy* novel, foot-massage, or gentle time talking with someone you care for. (Maybe they*ll rub your feet!)

World Events

What*s the last thing you do before bed? Without question I support being informed, but I strongly recommend that The News not be the last thing you see before retiring for a peaceful sleep.
Tips: Coping with world events

Where Does It Hurt?

Sometimes a mattress or a pillow is too hard, soft, high or low. When*s the last time your mattresses was turned and rotated? (Careful please, and with help.)

*I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark.* - Mary Stewart

Too Cold? Hot? Near the Wall?. . .Not?

Most people sleep best in a room that is a bit cool, and in soft fabrics. Perhaps you like a fluffy down comforter, or snug-as-a-bug tightly-tucked sheets. Which side do you prefer? Whites or bright colors, soft florals? Cotton? Flannel? Silk? Experiment.

Full Stomach

In addition to discomfort, the digestive process initiates a metabolic boost that can stimulate, hindering sleep. Ask your doctor if a light snack of a food containing calcium or tryptophan, with a mild calming effect, might be ok for you: e.g. banana, turkey, milk.

Full Bladder

Think of dreamland as, *a road trip.* Plan ahead. If you wake to use the bathroom, open your eyes only enough to see your way safely, drift gently back to sleep.

Sick & Tired

When ill, the body calls the shots. Rest provides immune function more energy.


FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) is a painful connective tissue disorder ,generally episodic, disturbing sleep, sometimes accompanied by cognitive cloudiness, (*fibro-fog* ) depression, digestive distress, restless leg syndrome, TMJ, CFIDS, among others. FMS is not yet fully understood. FMS is thought by some to be associated with low serotonin, environmental sensitivities, Leaky Gut Syndrome or the Alpha/Delta EEG Anomaly, where brain activity interrupts sleep, tissue repair,etc. Many diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome exhibit FMS sympomatology. I have seen much written on this complicated, little-understood constellation of symptoms. Try, *Reversing Fibromyalgia* by Joe Elrod. Dr. Elrod *gets* FMS...with all it*s vague, sometimes subtle, often miserable, symptoms. He shares practical, realistic suggestions especially for nutrition, movement and stress-relief. Of course, all this must be discussed with one's personal physician. Living with FMS can be very stressful, but there*s much one can do.

FMS tips
FMS tips

Sleep Apnea

Characterized by breath-holding, gasping, snorts, sometimes extremely deep sleep. It should be addressed, often treatable, best diagnosed in a sleep disorders clinic. Ask your physician or large, teaching hospitals

*Stuffy Doze*?

Try steam, hot chamomile or ginger tea, (Not caffeinated, and not near bedtime.) Make sure the room is cool. Reduce common allergens like dust mites, mold, feathers. Ask an ENT for suggestions, but remember, some nasal sprays create rebound swelling reactions, and many decongestants include sympathomemetics ( CNS stimulants.) So you might breathe. . .but be doing it wide-awake!


A variety of causes, and incredibly frustrating. Some use a sinus strip to open airways, monitors that vibrate to *nudge* the snorer, re-positioning the head or turning the snorer on his/her side.

Noisy Neighbors?

Try a *white noise* machine, small, available in catalogs, creates an unobtrusive background that *absorbs* sound. You may need to cordially and respectfully open a dialogue to strike a compromise. (e.g. Drum practice pre-10 PM )

Medication Side-Effects

It is amazing how little we are told of potential effects. (Drowsiness, agitation, dry-mouth, diuresis, to be taken with/without food, etc.) Read labels and consult your pharmacist. *PM* preparations often contain anti-histamine to cause sleepiness. Rarely, short-term sleep medication may be appropriate, but don*t be misled. While I am not a physician, my understanding is that some sleep preparations can actually block the critical, restorative Delta (4th) Level sleep phase. Psychological, or physical dependency can be serious problems too, so seek professional medical advice, and ask questions.

*Is it Hot . . .Or is it Me?*

Hormonal activity may be in the mix. For women in their 40*s and 50*s, all kinds of fun changes are going on. Ask your Gyn. Medicinal and herbal preparations, and stress-reduction can help diminish menopausal symptoms.

Too Much Light

We need darkness for sleep, daylight for activity, and routine to reinforce the mind/body*s circadian rhythm (day/night cycle.) Try dimming lights an hour before bed. Note: Bright computer screens at night may also send a *daytime* signal.

Wound Up?

Reduce caffeine, including cola, chocolate. Use your intuition and observe what feels right. [ A few more drug-free suggestions: A warm tub, chamomile tea, aromatherapy, meditation, massage, using your bed only for sleep, exercising early in the day, counting sheep, magazines, relaxation tape, soothing music.](c) 2001,'04 Susie Mantell, Relax. . .Intuit (tm)LLC All rights reserved.

Pop Quiz: Sleep Soothers

Q: When*s the last time you went to bed, slept 8-9 hours and awoke feeling great?
Q: What are 3 things you could change slightly, to support better sleep?
This Week:
1. Make the hour or two before bed relaxed, gentle, non-working ones.
2. For one week, put yourself to bed early enough to allow for 8-9 hours of sleep. Reassess your energy, outlook, even complexion after 4-5 days.

Want to Read More About Sleep?

Good Night*s Sleep May Rescue Memories

Findings in the esteemed journal Nature explore sleep*s affect on memory-recording, safeguarding.

Sleep Eating
They get up in the middle of the night, wake amid crumbs, frustrated, depressed.

Acetylcholine, Sleep . . .& Alzheimers?

The neurotransmitter Acetylcholine suppresses feedback within the brain, but reduction during slow-wave sleep allows it.

Sleep & Metabolism?

Sleep-deprivation may alter metabolism.

Sleep & Creativity
Throughout history, artists and scientists have awakened to their most notable insights after dry spells. Scientists caution schools, employers and government agencies that sleep makes a huge difference in performance.

*We need to make the world safe for creativity and intuition, for it*s creativity and intuition that will make the world safe for us.* -Edgar Mitchell, Apollo Astronaut, founder: Institute of Noetic Sciences

Study: AM Exercise / Better Sleep?
Older women may find a morning workout better for rest at night.

Quirky zzz*s:
At age 116, Mrs. Hongo has an unusual sleeping pattern on Japan*s island of Kyushu. Snoozing two days, awakening for two.

New Addition! Telephone Consultations by Appointment These are complex times. . . In response to dozens of requests, award-winning stress-relief facilitator/author Susie Mantell is
scheduling a limited number of individual 1 hr. telephone consultations each month. Learn more:

*Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.* - Mohandas Gandhi

Closing Thought:
A clear conscience is worth it*s weight in. . .well, it doesn*t weigh a thing, does it? Peace of mind is compromised when we are responsible for the unhappiness of another. Healthy, restful sleep is infinitely easier to achieve by those who go to bed liking themselves. Do a quick internal scan and see if a gentle apology to a family member or colleague might make you (and them!) feel better, perhaps enhancing the deep comforting sleep you deserve.

Counting blessings, saying prayers, wishing on stars. . .are all ways in which we connect with what is meaningful for us. Until next time I wish you many blessings to count, *sweet dreams* to dream, and as always, above all. . .peace,


National stress-relief expert Susie Mantell's soothing, award-winning relaxation CD, "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace" is physician-recommended to relieve Stress & Sleeplessness, Pain, Depression, Addiction rRecovery and PTSD. Featured in The Los Angeles Times, NBC,ABC -TV, Billboard, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Services, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and The American Pain Society, listeners include The Mayo Clinic, U.S. V.A. facilities, Canyon Ranch (BEST SPA,") F.F.S.C.'s and MWR's. Customizing programs for American Express, Remington, The Arthritis Foundation, The National Conference on Loss, and The Coca-Cola Company , her techniques are found in Cosmopolitan, McCalls, WebMD and syndicated press. Fine more Free Stress-Relief Tips or Order "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace" at: (SPECIAL: ORDER 5--GET 1 FREE!)
NOTE: Copyright © 2000, 2003 All rights reserved. For reprint email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Susie Mantell and Relax...Intuit(tm)LLC offer support as an adjunct to, but not a substitute for, professional health care.