VIRGO

HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

(AU­GUST 24–SEPTEM­BER 23)

Once a year your ruler vis­its your sign, but it’s not ev­ery year it forms a grand trine with Saturn and Uranus, and a mi­nor grand trine with Jupiter and Pluto. In ce­les­tial terms, you’re be­ing handed ev­ery ad­van­tage. But too much choice can be the en­emy of hap­pi­ness; hav­ing so many doors open can lead to pro­cras­ti­na­tion. As long as you keep tak­ing ac­tion, you’ll find op­ti­mism and luck will ac­com­pany you this month. Four min­utes on the phone can make Septem­ber spe­cial. Call 1900 957 223. some­times what’s best for our heart isn’t what we ex­pect, and with Uranus in your sign sur­prises are never far away. Your heart will be feel­ing an in­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm that can strengthen a key re­la­tion­ship. This trans­for­ma­tion will in­volve a chal­lenge or two, but that will add to the ex­cite­ment. Your fore­cast for Septem­ber is ready. Call 1900 957 223.

GEMINI Although busy peo­ple get things done, they of­ten have a hard time pri­ori­tis­ing. When we have an end­less to-do list, it’s tempt­ing to choose the eas­i­est items in­stead of tack­ling the is­sues that make the most dif­fer­ence to our work­load. But you have the strength to do more than you think. Ad­dress the root of your prob­lems and then you’ll har­vest the fruits of your en­deav­ours. Septem­ber is a pow­er­ful month. Call 1900 957 223.

(MAY 22–JUN 22)

CAN­CER There’s no font that sug­gests sar­casm, but if you want to shout, you can use CAP­I­TALS. And it’s easy to ex­press alarm with ex­cla­ma­tion marks! In the age of emo­jis, there are many ways to con­vey feel­ings, but sub­tlety is hard to de­tect. Fo­cus on your com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills as you bal­ance sen­si­tiv­ity and cre­ativ­ity. Just make sure some­one’s per­cep­tion doesn’t hold you back. In Septem­ber, the power of the plan­ets can change your life. Call 1900 957 223.

(JUN 23–JUL 23)

LEO As a par­ent, I deal with my fair share of tantrums. Usu­ally they’re caused by tired­ness – what my son re­ally needs is sleep. You’re aware you could do with a break. And although it might not last as long you would like, Jupiter’s links will help you re­gain con­trol of your sched­ule. Once you re­lax, think about what you re­ally want – be­cause you can now have it. Septem­ber brings great po­ten­tial for change. Call 1900 957 223.

(JUL 24–AUG 23)

Even though I’m known as The Sleep Doc­tor and have nu­mer­ous cre­den­tials on sleep [Dr Breus is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, a diplo­mate of the Amer­i­can Board of Sleep Medicine, and a Fel­low of The Amer­i­can Academy of Sleep Medicine], I’m not im­mune to the stresses of life that can im­pact rest. I’m still hu­man, after all.

When I started my ca­reer, I wasn’t in­ter­ested in sleep medicine, a med­i­cal spe­cial­ity de­voted to the di­ag­no­sis and ther­apy of sleep dis­tur­bances and dis­or­ders. I was in­ter­ested in sports psy­chol­ogy. But then I did a res­i­dency pro­gram, which had both sleep and sports psy­chol­ogy in it, and when I started do­ing sleep medicine, I just ab­so­lutely fell in love with it.

My love stems from the im­me­di­acy of sleep medicine – it is a way to help peo­ple al­most in­stantly. In tra­di­tional psy­chol­ogy treat­ment, gains can take weeks, months and years, but I’ve been able to change peo­ple’s lives within 24 hours. I’m still in awe of that.

It’s an ex­cit­ing time for sleep re­search and medicine. Ev­ery month we learn some­thing new. My mis­sion is to teach ev­ery­one how to sleep bet­ter and give the lat­est in­for­ma­tion on sleep dis­or­ders, in­clud­ing how they’re di­ag­nosed and the treat­ment that is avail­able.

We all know when you don’t have a rest­ful night, it can have an ef­fect on your mood, health, fam­ily and job. Sleep is the third pil­lar of health, along with diet and ex­er­cise. Aus­tralians may have a global rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing re­laxed, but 83 per cent don’t set time aside to un­wind ev­ery day. On top of that, 65 per cent of Aus­tralians strug­gle to get a good night’s sleep even while on hol­i­day.

We don’t 100 per cent know why sleep is so im­por­tant, but we know what hap­pens when the body doesn’t get sleep. It’s not pretty – men­tally or phys­i­cally. Sleep is not an on/off switch; there’s a process that has to oc­cur.

The eas­i­est way to in­crease the qual­ity of your sleep is to re­duce caf­feine. Caf­feine can have a half-life – the time it stays ef­fec­tive in your sys­tem – of be­tween eight and 10 hours. I am not say­ing to give it up, but try a method called caf­feine fad­ing: have your high­est caf­feinated bev­er­age in the morn­ing, and then slowly move to less caf­feinated bev­er­ages through­out the day. By 2pm, try to be caf­feine free.

A sim­ple way to help im­prove the quan­tity of your sleep is to give your­self a bed­time. Yes, like a kid. Many of my pa­tients tell me that they get in­volved with some­thing – television, the in­ter­net, a good book – and then look at the clock and it’s 1am.

There are many things that pre­vent peo­ple from fall­ing asleep, but two that are quite com­mon in­clude your body not be­ing ready and your mind rac­ing. To help fall asleep more quickly, try a hot bath about an hour be­fore bed. And to pre­vent your mind from rac­ing, count back­wards from 300 by threes (so 300, 297, 294…). It is com­pli­cated enough that you can­not think of any­thing else – and so bor­ing you are out like a light. Dr Michael Breus is a sleep ex­pert for The Dr. Oz Show, WEDMD and for Princess Cruises. Visit thesleep­doc­tor.com.

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