How to hack your sleep with the cello

Nov 27, 2023

Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep? 


Back in 1942 Americans had an average of 7.9 hours of sleep every night. This has decreased to only 6.7 hours per night, which means we are sleeping 13% LESS! One of the biggest reasons we don’t sleep enough is due to insomnia from stress, anxiety and depression. In this post we will be going through more of the reasons you might be having a tough time sleeping and what you can do about it.


I know you clicked on this post because you are feeling doggedly tired. Maybe you are even in the 4% of adults who unintentionally fall asleep during the day because you struggle to sleep enough at night. I want you to know that there is absolutely a way that you CAN have a wonderful, full night’s sleep most of the time. Life happens and you are bound to have a bad night here and there. So while I cannot promise you will have a glorious sleep every single night after reading and implementing the plan I have for you in this post, what I can promise is that you will achieve restorative sleep on a more consistent basis so that you can show up for your kids, your work and your goals with energy every day!

First of all, I’d like to share with you some fascinating facts about sleep that might help you feel like you are not alone.  (From the Sleep Foundation)

  • 95% of adults lose at least an hour of sleep to pain in a given week.
  • 54% of adults say stress and anxiety were the top reasons they have trouble falling asleep. Sunday was the night of the week in which they had the most trouble falling asleep.
  • Adults in the U.S. spend 3 hours, 30 minutes on social media before bed every night. YouTube is the most popular social media platform used before bed, with 74% of survey respondents using it. They reported that this was one of the biggest factors holding back from sleeping well, but didn’t feel like they had a way to change this deeply ingrained habit. 
  • 56% of adults have consumed at least one sleep aid in the past month, 49% of adults have used melatonin, which is the most popular sleep aid.


So what we see above in those facts is that a lot of us struggle with pain, stress & anxiety about our lives before we fall asleep, habits that don’t serve us to actually fall asleep quickly, and as a result seek out sleep aids which just masks the root of the problems you are dealing with. 


One of the things that might be holding you back from having a better night’s sleep is being too tired to deal with creating a better routine before bed. And I get it. It is hard to take a step back when you are really struggling and actually change. You get into this vicious loop where the problem itself makes it feel almost impossible to find a solution. You get to the end of the day, exhausted from trying to make it through on Stanley size cups of coffee and collapse in bed after wrestling your kids into bed only to hop on your phone immediately and before you know it it is almost midnight, with a 6am alarm clock looming in your future. 

To actually change this cycle, there are a few mindset shifts you need to address. First of all, you need to decide that once and for all you are going to get into a better sleep routine that will give you the much needed rest your body and your brain is just aching for. A decision means to cut off all other options. That is in fact where the root of the word comes from. The prefix “de” means to eliminate, and the word “cision” means to cut. So what that means to you is to cut off all other options. 


In Napolean Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich he talk about a story of a great warrior who had to fill his soldiers with the will and energy to give the battle their all. Here’s the excerpt from the book that tells the story:

“A long while ago, a great warrior had to make a decision which ensured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, ‘You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice - we win or we perish!’They won. Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.” 


You can do this with your will to win at a good night’s sleep. Don’t give yourself the option of going on your phone. Start by putting your phone in another room and your sleep will already dramatically improve. 


Sleep Pressure & Sleep Debt and how they affect your energy 


Maybe you have experienced this yourself, but I for one feel much more ready for bed when my mind has worked hard during the day. 


There is a phenomenon called “sleep pressure” that builds during the day. It starts from the time you wake up and gradually builds till you feel tired. If you have sleep debt then you can start feeling this in the first energy dip that happens about 8 hours after waking up. This might prompt you to eat a snack, drink (yet another) a cup of coffee, or if you are trying to get out of this vicious cycle, maybe you go outside for some fresh air. 


Sleep debt accumulates when you don’t sleep enough several nights in a row. This luckily does not affect you beyond 14 days. So for example, if your sleep need is 8.5 hours a night, and you sleep 7 hours a night 5 days of the last 14 days, but slept 8.5 the other 9 nights, then your sleep debt will be 1.5h x 5 = 7.5h of sleep debt. That is almost the equivalent of pulling an all nighter! No wonder you still feel sleepy on a Monday morning after sleeping in on the two weekend day. It is an accumulation of sleep debt making you feel this way. 


So to summarize, if you are not able to first of all stay awake during the day, AND you have a hard time falling asleep at night due to anxiety, etc, (as described above!), then you are in the right place! 


There is absolutely a way that you can have sustained energy during the day, and get into bed falling asleep within the normal 10-20 minutes. 

The solution: How to Hack Your Sleep with the Cello!


Did you know that when you hear sound tuned to 258 Hz (vibrations per second), you sleep deeper? You can even experience this effect with just 15 minutes before bed. 

It's true! According to a study done by Better Sleep found that specific tones of sound called "Solfeggio Frequencies" impacted sleep by relaxing the subconscious mind. Now, while the cello has multiple frequencies it vibrates to, depending on the note you are playing, a cello string vibrates with a fundamental frequency of 258 Hz. What that means for you is being able to fully relax when you play the cello! 


In addition to that, when you actually play the cello yourself, you physically feel these vibrations against your rib cage gives you a feeling of being grounded and is able to relax your mind from a busy day. 


As one student put it: 

"I love the cello. The physicality of it, the resonance against my chest and under my fingers, the miracle of the sounding of the harmonics. Sympathetic vibrations gave me goosebumps."


She has discovered the energy giving beauty of the sound that the cello makes. Almost every student I have taught tells me, "I started because of the sound." 


This is in fact why I play. Many times in my life I have gone to the cello when I was stressed, excited, calm or even just bored to get energized with this sound. It can also produce the opposite effect depending on what you play. It can be used as a way to wind down and relax after a busy day. 


There is absolutely a way that you can learn how to do this yourself! 


In Inner Voice Academy you learn several techniques to combine breathing with cello playing so that you can have confidence that you have a tool to relax you when life gets intense. 


Furthermore, the playing the cello stimulates the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that communicates with the brain stem that controls the transitions between wake and sleep. That means that when you are lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, the hypothalamus which has been trained to make connections quickly with other parts of the brain, you will be able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep!

This just scratches the surface of what the cello can do in your life to improve not only your sleep, but your health overall! Coming very soon will be information about how learning the cello can impact the skill of intuitive eating so that you can become truly free, knowing that your health is being taken care of to it’s fullest!


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