Consulting a sleep doctor may have given the San Francisco Giants baseball team the advantage they needed to win the World Series.
Every major league baseball player experiences the stress of a truly messed up sleep schedule. Teams travel from one time zone to another often playing well into the night and then catching a flight to a different time zone arriving at five or six in the morning. This kind of scheduling plays havoc with the body’s natural circadian rhythms and significantly reduces efficiency, concentration, focus and energy levels.
We humans have a natural 24 or 25 hour internal clock that tells us when we should be sleeping and when we should be awake. When the external world demands that we sleep at the wrong times or are forced to stay awake at the wrong times, we pay a significant negative consequence.
Is the nature of a major league baseball schedule such that players are doomed to simply deal with this disruption in their natural cycle? Or are there ways to organize schedules and flight times to make the best of a challenging situation?
The Giants have won the World Series three years out of the last five and trainer Dave Grossman has consulted sleep expert Dr. Chris Winter during each of those winning seasons as the postseason approached. Dr. Winter is Director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia and the Giants were the first professional team to seek his services. After consulting with Dr. Winter the trainer and manager implemented changes in the way the Giants daily schedule is organized including not scheduling flights overnight but instead staying put after a game and flying out the next morning. Such minor adjustments in scheduling seem to have yielded significant consequences.
Certainly winning the World Series involves more than just a few tweaks of the team’s sleep schedule but is it significant that a professional sports team has taken advantage of sleep research and clinical practice to maximize athletic performance by minimizing the damage done by disorganized and unhealthy sleep patterns.
Bad dreams the night before taking an exam may very well improve your performance on the exam the next day. This seems like a strange assertion to make but research reported in Psychology Today seems to confirm this finding among college students.
This study focused on medical students and it turns out that a majority of medical students dream about an exam the night before it’s scheduled. Most of those dreams involve some kind of frustration or failure in the exam. Students dream of being late for the exam, discovering that they are unprepared and are unable to respond correctly to specific questions. These dreams cause considerable anxiety during sleep and will sometimes wake the student up and may result in a period of sleeplessness.
Why should such an experience actually improve performance the next day? There is a thing called “threat simulation theory” in which practicing the threat ahead of time tends to curtail its negative impact when the threat actually appears in reality such as when one actually sits down to take an exam. It’s like getting the anxiety out of the way the night before so that relative calmness can prevail during the exam itself.
Of course there is an alternative explanation for this phenomena. It could be possible that those students who have anxiety dreams before exams are those students that care the most and are the most driven and have therefore done the most studying. And that’s why they succeed at a higher rate than non-dreamers. So as always things are not as clear as they might at first seem. But the results do suggest that at the very least, having failure dreams before an exam does not predict a catastrophe and perhaps predicts the opposite of a catastrophe.
The online publication Livescience recently reported on research demonstrating the advantages of lucid dreaming especially for people suffering from nightmares and even more specifically for those with the sleep disorder narcolepsy. The research was conducted by Martin Dresler researcher at the Max Planck Institute for psychiatry in Munich Germany.
As discussed in the book Your Genius Within, a lucid dream is one in which the dreamer is aware that the dream is a dream and not waking reality. That awareness can facilitate dream recall, help with the understanding of the meaning of dreams and help the dreamer cope with nightmares by reducing their terror when one realizes that the events or threatening characters are residing in the dream world and not the waking world.
People who suffer from narcolepsy have especially vivid nightmares and seem to spend a good deal of their sleep time in a kind of halfway place between being awake and being asleep. In this state vivid dreams and the paralysis that accompanies REM sleep can be especially frightening. Cultivating lucid dreaming can help ease the anxiety.
You’ll find a self-hypnosis CD to aid in the promotion of lucid dreaming for sale on Amazon.
It has of course long been known that hypnosis can be very effective in pain control. A flurry of research findings in recent years however, has engendered articles and stories in the popular media.
Hypnosis has shown itself to be effective for preoperative anxiety as well as lowering the amount of anesthesia required during surgery and the amount of painkillers necessary for pain control postoperatively.
ABC news recently ran a story about a woman who used a hypnosis recording to ease her anxiety before going into breast surgery. She reported that hypnosis helped her to move from a state of panic to a place of quiet acceptance of her upcoming necessary surgery.
Read Hypnosis for Pain Management, Part II.
An award-winning independent American film released in 2012 tells the story of a standup comedian’s struggles in dealing with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
You may recall that REM sleep behavior disorder results when the usual paralysis does not occur during REM sleep to prevent the dreamer from acting out their dreams. Since we dream every night the disorder can be very disruptive and dangerous if untreated and if the dreamer remains unrestrained and unprotected. There have been cases where sufferers have severely injured themselves or others.
Comedian and writer Mike Bibiglia wrote, directed and starred in the somewhat autobiographical tale of a troubled young aspiring comedian. The movie realistically depicts the dramatic behaviors associated with RBD. At one point the protagonist is doing battle with a hamper that he thinks is a jackal, later he runs half naked down a motel corridor knocking cleaning equipment over and otherwise raising Cain. The behavior that finally drives him to seek help is when he dives through a glass window of his second-floor hotel room and nearly bleeds to death from cuts to his legs.
At the end of the film the protagonist is getting used to sleeping in a sleeping bag with cumbersome mittens to prevent him from acting out his dreams and doing damage to himself, others or property.
The movie presents an accurate depiction of the disorder and weaves the story around it in such a way as to keep the action moving and the entertainment value high.
Check out the following links to see the movie trailer and some more extensive descriptions of the movie, its critical acclaim and the awards it garnered.
In my book, Your Genius Within, there are self-hypnosis scripts to effectively get you started in your self-improvement projects. My professional recordings of these scripts are available on this website. Also available are recordings for specific goals such as quitting smoking, getting a better night sleep, improving dream recall and others.
I will now teach you a straightforward self hypnosis technique that you can practice on your own, that takes advantage of the twilight zone between being awake and being asleep that we pass through every night. Continue reading
For some of us, the world is a visual playground full of all kinds of sights to feast our eyes on. For others, the world is full of sounds. Still others seem to feel their way through their days.
Of course, if our sensory equipment is working properly, we use all three kinds of ways of being in the world. But the interesting thing is that most of us have a favorite channel of experience. To get the most out of your self-hypnosis work, it would be a good idea to figure out which kind of person you are. That is why there are four different introductory self-hypnosis inductions available on this website. (One that emphasizes each of the three sensory modalities, and one that is mixed) Continue reading
If, in a survey, people are asked if they are currently having problems with sleep, almost a third of them will say yes. That’s a lot of people. Since you have bought this recording you are one of them and you’re familiar with some of the effects of not sleeping well. These include feeling wiped out during the day and decreased efficiency and problems with concentration. Sleep-deprived people also report feeling irritable, anxious and sometimes depressed. These effects should be taken seriously because they can damage relationships, job performance and create issues of physical safety. Continue reading
In my book Your Genius Within, I describe a number of different kinds of dreams and ways of understanding and working with them.
I’ll briefly review some of that information here to get you started in your dream work or if you’re already working with dreams, to help you enrich your dream work experience. Continue reading