I have always had trouble nodding off due to an overactive mind. I generally don’t leave enough time before stopping work, exercise or eating and going to bed, which I’m sure is a contributory factor.
So when this sleep hygiene program appeared in my inbox for review, I was eager to give it a go and document the results.
What Is Good Sleep Hygiene?
Good sleep hygiene is basically the practice of optimizing ones sleep-wake cycle to promote healthy, deep and restful sleep.
It’s basically an organic way of sleeping better, and is widely used now as an alternative to sleeping pills, which are addictive and don’t address the root of the problem.
It sounds simple on the surface, but there’s actually a lot to it, as Litchfield’s book details. There are dietary issues to address, environment rearrangement and attention to general habits that negatively impact on sleep.
About The Book
Six Steps To Sleep came about as a result of Litchfield’s personal sleep experience as an insomnia sufferer. After going through sleep hygiene therapy himself, he embarked on a mission to study sleep through the ages, and subsequently developed six core steps to a methodology that resets the body’s sleep-wake cycle in line with the natural world and perfect sleep.
The book starts with the Six Steps, enabling you to begin implementing the advice immediate. This requires you to commit to a 30-day program that will retrain your brain and reset your sleep-wake cycle for optimum sleep.
Once you have started, you can then proceed to read the nine chapters that provide supporting information to the Six Steps and address common problem areas for those who struggle to sleep properly.
The nine chapters are as follows:
- The Six Steps
- Essential Reading for Better Sleep
- Chapter 1: Working with Your Natural Cycle
- Chapter 2: Waking up During the Night
- Chapter 3: Stress and Sleep
- Chapter 4: Sleeping Before a Big Occasion
- Chapter 5: Napping
- Chapter 6: Sharing a Bed
- Chapter 7: Smoking and Sleep
- Chapter 8: Alcohol and Sleep
- Chapter 9: Air Travel and Sleep
The book itself is a best-seller, with over 100,000 copies sold on Amazon Kindle alone. and many more sold from the website as part of a Six Steps program that includes 4 brainwave entrainment meditations and a sleep diet guide.
The Six Steps Audios
The Six Steps package is available from the website, where the book is bundled with 4 binaural beats audios: Calm Mind (theta waves), Deep Sleep (delta waves), Anxiety Release (theta waves), Blissful Sleep (Delta Waves).
Each 15-minute recording uses the ‘frequency response process’ to promote calm and produce the brainwaves required for relaxation and sleep.
Calm Mind is to be listened to in the evening to temper an overactive mind, Deep Sleep before bed because it produces delta waves, which are the waves produced in the state of deep sleep, and Anxiety Release can be used at night or in the daytime to relieve stress and feelings of anxiety that back up in the brain and prevent us sleeping well at night.
Sleep Like A Baby: Self-Hypnosis
In addition to the binaural beats audios, there’s a sleep hypnosis recording, narrated by the author, over a hypnosis track developed by the guys at Hypnosis Downloads, so I am told.
It’s quite similar to the popular Sleep Like A Log audio that Paul McKenna did some years back, and certainly draws on inspiration from that.
It uses subliminal messaging and NLP over a theta binaural beats track to remap your sub-conscious thoughts around sleep. It can be used at any time of the time, be it afternoon or evening, but you need to make sure you are aren’t driving or operating machinery, as it evokes an altered state of awareness (trance).
I regularly use this in the afternoon during a break from work, particularly during stressful periods when my sleep isn’t great.
*Update: The Sleep Like A Baby hypnosis is now available on iTunes, too.
Sleep Diet Guide
Another component in the package is the Smart Sleep Diet Guide. Most people don’t realize that quality of sleep is heavily impacted by what we eat, and Litchfield details numerous foods that can be responsible for disrupting the sleep-wake cycle.
On the flip side the guide also provides plenty of options for creating a sleep-friendly diet. It’s an easy read at around 30 pages long, but certainly a worthy supporting addition to the package.
Does It Work?
I followed the Six Steps for 14 days (my 30 days was interrupted due to a family crisis) and regularly used the audios. I experienced very deep dream-filled sleep within about four days of starting the course. It definitely works, but frankly, I expected it to.
Litchfield’s approach is based on facts and common sense methodology. In the book he speaks of how humans evolved to sleep in line with nature, and how artificial light and irregular sleeping times are alien to humans, and no matter how we might force ourselves to evolve past tiredness, it’s impossible.
We are a part of nature, and subject to its rules. Period. Moreover, I was so shattered by day three having adjusted my sleep-wake pattern that I experienced some of deepest sleep I’ve had since my teens.
I enjoyed this book, and indeed the accompanying audios. I highly recommend it to anyone experiencing difficulty sleeping, and would definitely advise spending the $27 on this before turning to sleeping pills.
For me, better sleep means more productivity and general happiness, two essential aspects of both self-development and enjoying my family.
It isn’t clear why the Six Steps hasn’t been published in paperback format yet, especially considering that it is one of only a couple of specialist books in its category, and probably the only one dedicated solely to the proven natural practice of good sleep hygiene. Still I’m sure we’ll see it on bookshelves in the near future.