It is important to have a Mental Routine before going to sleep to encourage the mind to become quiet so the Athlete can drift off to sleep easily and naturally.

Sports Hypnosis

Bears, Sleep, and Athletes.

What’s the Connection?

Originally published by Coach William C. Smith June 12th, 2011

“The greatest achievements
were at first and for a time dreams.
The oak sleeps in the acorn.”
James Allen 
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What’s the connection between Athletes and Bears?  Bears instinctively know how to sleep!  As do most animals of course.  They know how to turn off the worry button, or just the active mind.

 .. 
Bears hibernate.  Now we’re not going to hibernate like bears, but an Athlete needs to be able to get a great night’s sleep to restore energy, and to allow both the body and the mind to relax and restore. 
..  

If the body is not relaxed properly and given a chance to get restful sleep, then the Athlete is not going to be able to maximize their ability to play their sport.  And every Athlete has dreams and goals and want to be recognized for their achievements.  Without the ability to get a good restful Sleep, those dreams and goals are going to be much more difficult to achieve!

 .. 
It doesn’t matter whether you play or participate in:
golf
hockey
football
baseball
basketball
soccer
martial arts
body building
or any other sport
you need to be properly rested – especially before a major tournament or sporting event!  If you’re not properly rested – physically and mentally – then you’re not going to be giving your best sports performance. 
.. 
And if an Athlete’s mind is not allowed some down time with good sleep to process the daily stress, then the Athlete is not going to be as mentally sharp as needed to play their best either.  Lack of sleep will interfere with an Athlete’s ability to Focus. 
..
The biggest problems Athletes tell me about sleep is they have trouble turning their mind off.  About the time they’re ready to go to sleep, they begin to think about practice, the next game, the next big test, their girlfriend / boyfriend, how early they have to get up, paying bills – so many things that just keeps them awake! 
.. 
And what does the Athlete ask him/herself when sleep just won’t come?
 .. 
“Why can’t I go to sleep?” 
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Well, that’s a big part of the problem!  And this is one of the things I teach my Athletes in sessions.  Your SubConscious Mind is designed to answer whatever question you give it.  And by asking “WHY?” then the SubConscious is focused on the problem instead of the solution. 
.. 
Good friends, good books
and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.”
Mark Twain 
 
 ..  
It’s important to have a Mental Routine before going to sleep to encourage the mind to become quiet so the Athlete can drift off to sleep easily and naturally. 
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Let me give you one of my techniques I teach Athletes to help them go to sleep more easily and to get a better night’s sleep. 
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As you’re ready to go to sleep, give yourself a suggestion - in my office we would discuss different possibilities – but I’m going to give you one you can use right away. Here it is: 
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“It’s easy and natural for me to go to sleep easily and quickly.” 
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OK – now you need to know how to properly use it.  You don’t just say it once and magic happens.  Sure that would be nice – like going to the gym once and not having to go the rest of the year.  It just doesn’t happen that way.  Does it? 
.. 
You say the suggestion (only in your mind – not out loud) very slowly, quietly (in your mind remember), calmly, soothingly, boringly, with emphasis on SLOWLY with the intention of at least ten times.  In other words, say it like you would imagine a Sports Hypnotist would say it!  Remember, this is not out loud – only quietly and VERY slowly in your mind. 
.. 
I suggest using it with the intention of saying it at least ten times, because after you make this part of your mental bed time routine, you’ll find you go to sleep before you get to ten – easily!  And at first, if you do get to ten, just keep saying it in that quiet inner mind voice. 
.. 
If you think of something else  - Did I send that email?  Did I pay the electric bill?  Etc. – then go right back to saying it.  You’ll find this will help you stay focused on going to sleep easily and quickly. 
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If for some reason you wake up in the middle of the nighthave to go to the bathroomthunder stormsdog barking, etc. – just repeat the suggestion again until you go to sleep.
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You’ll find that after a while, you won’t be making it past seven or eight and you’ll be sleeping peacefully.  And with even more practice, you’ll be really pushing it to get past three or four!  Now that’s something to look forward to. 
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Now, let’s go back to that suggestion again.  “It’s easy and natural for me to go to sleep easily and quickly.” 
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With this wording, now you’re telling your SubConscious Mind what it is you WANT.  You want for it to be easy and natural for your body / mind to go to sleep easily and quickly. 
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Your SubConscious Mind is like your very own personal assistant that does exactly what you tell it to – not what you mean for it to do, but what you tell it to do. 
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So by asking the question “Why can’t I go to sleep?” you’ve just told it to look for reasons why you can’t go to sleep!  And guess what, you’ll find reasons NOT to go to sleep. 
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So asking that question is very counterproductive. 
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And yes, better sleep is important not just for athletes, but for everyone.
 .. 
"A good laugh and a long sleep are
the best cures in the doctor's book."
Irish Proverb 
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When you get a better, more rested night’s sleep, you have better practices and you do much better when it’s time to compete! 
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I teach my Athlete / Sports Hypnosis clients to do Self Hypnosis correctly.  They’re already doing Self Hypnosis.  Some of the Athletes are aware of this, but some have no idea they’re doing it.  But EVERY Athlete is doing some form of Self Hypnosis. 
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Since they’re already doing it.  They might as well learn how to do it correctly. 
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We begin with proper Self Suggestion construction – using the words correctly in Suggestions.  Then I teach them the best ways to use the Suggestions. 
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If you’re an Athlete and you don’t know how to do proper Self Hypnosis to Maximize your Performance, then maybe we should talk! 
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And of course, when the Athlete learns how to do this technique I mentioned earlier properly, it turns their attention to the Self Hypnosis which leads them into a restful sleep. 
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And one more very important thing – TURN the TV OFF BEFORE you get in bed! Why?  Because even if you go to sleep with it on, it can interfere with your sleep quality.  How?  Think about this.  You’re mind – especially your SubConscious Mind is in its most receptive state for receiving suggestions when you’re relaxed – especially when you’re asleep.  And the TV (or radio) probably isn’t going to be giving you any good suggestions for relaxing your mind! 
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That’s why my Athletes all tell me they get better sleep and the better sleep helps with their improvement of their Sports Performance!
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OK, now that you’ve got a simple, easy to utilize tool for sleep, what would be some other reasons why you as an athlete would want to utilize Sports Performance Hypnosis?·         Boosting Confidence
·         Focus during Games / Events
·         Maximizing Performance
·         Better Concentration during Workouts
·         Stress Reduction
·         Optimizing Workouts
·         Improved Stamina
·         Letting go of Mistakes
·         Anger Control
·         Minimizing downtime from Injuries
·         Reducing Pain / Discomfort
·         Creating Positive Imagery
·         Mental Blocks
·         Fears
·         Increasing Discipline 

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But whatever the Athlete needs Sports Hypnosis for, there’s one thing they always tell me on follow up visits. 
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"Coach, I’m sleeping better!  I’ve got more energy!  And stress isn’t nearly as bad!  Thanks!"

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And that makes me feel good!   When I can help an Athlete sleep better and reduce stress, that's the first sign of progress and it helps all the other areas we're working with! 
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And here’s a bit of advice a doctor

 should mention to patients:
"Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill
and a laxativeon the same night."  

 
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