Beautiful woman lying and sleep on the snowy bedGuess what, sleep is hugely important to your body. Sure, we all love that well-rested and alert feeling, but there’s plenty of stuff happening behind the scenes too, from repairing damaged skin cells to flushing out toxins that build up in your brain. If you notice one of these signs, it’s time to start thinking about your quantity and quality of sleep. Luckily, most of the time, these issues are reversible with a concerted effort to catch more ZZzzz’s.

Turns out we could all use a little more shut eye; too many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep per night…Oh, and if you’ve heard that you must get 7 hours or 8 hours or whatever, then it’s pseudo science I’m afraid, sleep doesn’t work like that.  Anyway, as a result, we’re pretty familiar with the signs that our bodies need more rest: endless yawns, heavy eyes, and sleeping in on the weekends.  But, when you go from a few restless nights to more chronic sleep deprivation, where sleep debt accumulates over weeks, you tend to not realise how tired you are.  Luckily there are some subtle (and slightly bizarre) signs that reveal when we’re truly sleep deprived.

  1. You rely on clichés.

Do you find yourself peppering platitudes (“What goes around comes around” or “It is what it is”) into everyday conversation? No, you haven’t switched bodies with an old fogey, you might just be sleepy. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can mimic the levels of impairment we feel when we’re drunk.  When you’re impaired, you rely on crutches, the things you know; that could mean clichés or anything that will allow you to stay in conversation without expending much energy.

And it’s not just clichés. Sleep-deprived people may start to sound drunk, with slurred speech, trouble finding words and excessive giddiness.

  1. You’re unusually moody.

You’re usually a pretty patient person, but now you have the shortest fuse. Little things, like people being late or missing deadlines, rile you up, and that’s totally normal for someone who’s sleep deprived.  One study even showed that people who were low on sleep struggled to accurately read facial expressions; they started seeing non-threatening people as threatening. As you can imagine, this would send most people into an emotional tailspin, thinking the world is out to get them.

  1. You get sick all the time.sick-duck

You just got over one illness, and the next thing you know another cold has you down for the count. Your body isn’t railing against you (even if you ate a few too many helpings of cheesy chips last weekend), but your immune system is weaker and struggling to fend off the germs you come into contact with every day. One recent study found that people who slept less than five hours per night were four times more likely to catch the common cold than those who slept for six.

  1. You have a serious case of the munchies.Box with a Hamburger and French Fries

Find yourself digging into the ice cream right after you polished off some late-night pizza? Your hunger just can’t be sated, and there’s a perfectly good explanation for that. Studies have found that short sleeps lead to a lowered level of Leptin (the hormone that decreases your appetite) and an increased level of Ghrelin (the hunger hormone). Talk about a bad combination! Even worse, another study found that participants who slept four-and-a-half hours for four consecutive nights showed increased insulin sensitivity and an elevated risk for diabetes, even though they didn’t change their diet.

  1. You can’t seem to make a decision.

Some choices are always hard to make (Netflix or Sky?), and then there are days when every decision seems like it’s do or die. If you’re low on sleep, you’ll have less blood flow to the Pre-frontal Cortex, the area of your brain responsible for critical thinking. At the same time, there’s hyperactivity in the Amygdala, which is wired for our responses to fear. This leads to all sorts of problems with executive function and includes things like decision making, planning, organising and paying attention.

  1. You lose your libido.

For those of you who are low on sleep, the only thing you want to do when we crawl into bed is, well, sleep! Our sex drives seem non-existent. For men, studies have found that sleep deprivation can lower levels of testosterone, which also lowers their interest in being intimate with their partner…or she just might not be that attractive eh (joke).

  1. You’re breaking out like crazy.

If you wake up in the morning with acne clustered around your chin, don’t think your teenage years have come back to haunt you. It’s a perfectly normal reaction to being sleep deprived or overly stressed, Poor sleep habits can start to make skin less firm and hydrated, that means older. We have Cortisol to thank for that; the hormone spikes in people who are stressed and sleep deprived, and it can break down skin collagen, which stops it from being its usual smooth self.

Good night!


Hey everyone.

I thought I’d bash out another blog on an area of NLP that never ceases to fascinate me – EYE ACCESSING CUES.  It’s been around since as early as 1890 when James Williams an American Psychologist examined it closely in his book Principles of Psychologybut the book is well boring to be honest! LoL

When people access their memories, their eyes move in quite specific and observable directions. These movements are called eye accessing cues and they correspond to the neural pathways in the brain that store and process sensory details.  Everything has a place to be stored and this is how people access stored information.

The eyes play a big part in how a person lives their lives (Yes, I meant to write ‘lives’). As much as a quarter of your brain is devoted to vision and our optic nerves are directly wired to the brain.  A person’s eyes tell a story as the eyes move involuntarily and in conjunction with whatever is being thought or felt.

Why is this useful though Shaun?

Well…I’m glad you asked…

… This information can be useful to enhance rapport and communicate more effectively by only asking applicable questions and to build understanding.  It allows you to communicate to people in their own language as you match it back.

Here’s the science bit…

….In the early days of NLP, both Grinder and Bandler (You should know who these guys are) believed they had identified a pattern of relationships between the sensory based language people use in general conversation and corresponding eye movement.  Jury is out on whether they had actually discovered anything new at all.  However, in 1976, Robert Dilts conducted a study at Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco to find out if this had relevance. Using electrodes, he tracked both eye movement and brain wave characteristics of people who were asked questions relating to various senses that involved both memory and mental construction. As a result of these studies, eye movement patterns or EYE ACCESSING CUES were identified.

I remember a long time ago I watched a TV crime drama where the suspect was being interviewed under caution.  Behind the mirror stood a Criminal Psychologist (not a real one…an actor silly) who seemed able to state categorically when the suspect was lying and when he was telling the truth.  This sort of stuff has seeped into urban myth and it seems almost everyone out there thinks they can tell what you’re thinking just by looking into your eyes…wooOOO00 Spooky!

If only everyone could do this sort of stuff, the world would be a better place.  Everyone would know when they are causing offence, when they’re not being listened to and lots of other things too.  This is where NLP jumps in with both feet.  If everyone learnt at least this area of NLP I’d be:

a) A lot richer because of all the extra training I’d be doing and

b) Calmer because I wouldn’t have to listen to some people dribbling on.

OK, so, what I thought I’d do is tackle EYE ACCESSING CUES in this blog so that I could pass on enough knowledge to allow you to practice this skill for yourself.  As with my other blogs, I’ll try and dispel the myth and secrecy surrounding this subject and simply tell you how it is.

I’ll have to do this in 2 parts or the blog will be soooo long it might as well have been an eBook (now there’s an idea).

When I went to my very first NLP event decades ago, I was excited to learn that people’s eye movements had some kind of meaning and weren’t just random.  I couldn’t wait to learn how it all worked.  This area of NLP has become a fav of mine over the years and it now filters into my everyday life of hypnotherapy, training, coaching, communicating and thinking.

Everyone has their own model of the world, but memories of it can be very different.  It all depends on how somebody filters an experience. The memories of events are stored as a picture, sound, feeling or thought (this is known in the NLP world as an Internal Representation).

So then, each of our memories is stored as a specific set of images, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes and this is how we distinguish one set of memories from another. We mentally recreate and recall our experiences (memories) with these stored pictures, words, sounds and physical feelings as we do the thinking bit.

(There…I think I explained that quite well…even if I do say so myself).

All this stuff gives us some meaty information that provides us with clues as to whether the person is thinking in pictures, sounds, feelings or simply talking to themselves (I feel like I do that a lot). A skilled NLP Practitioner (like me) will be on the lookout for the sequencing of eye patterns.

Now…before you get excited…this isn’t going to make you a mind reader, but it will give you some decent information to help discover the way the other person is thinking. (This is known in the NLP world as a Lead Representational System).

There’s a load of writing there.  I’m a big fan of pictures so I think it’s about time I included one.

Let me explain this picture a little.

First of’s not me!  

This chart is read as you look at another person’s face straight on (This is known in the NLP world as Normally Organised).  I can honestly say that I’ve never been described as ‘Normally Organised’ haha.  Some people are reverse organised and the eye pattern chart is flipped and opposite.  Some left-handed people are reverse organised (but not all) and a few right-handed people are reverse organised. But, generally, the normally organised patterns are fairly consistent across all races, with the possible exception of the Basques in Spain, who seem to have some exceptions to the rule.  I’ve spoken to a lot of Basque people and very quickly realised I had no idea what they were on about (Not just because I don’t speak Basque before I get any wise cracks).

However, NEVER ASSUME, ask questions and watch the eyes to find how the person stores information, this is called Calibrating.

So what do all those letters mean Shaun?

Well…I’m glad you asked….

But….my dinner is ready and this blog is already too long.  FIND OUT MORE IN PART 2

As someone who studies behaviour I notice the little things in language and actions. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in recent times almost everyone claims to have OCD. It seems to me that this is a much misused term. Being neat and tidy doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD. All joking aside, I’ve written a little ditto to help explain a bit. If you also work with people I thought it might help you to notice the little things too…it’s not tool long, you never know, it might be useful. Read More →

beliefs-wordleThe thing about your head is that it’s usually attached to your body. If you’re lucky it’s been attached all your life. Now, here’s the funny bit…why then do we take more notice of our feet (or any other body part for that matter) than what’s in our head? Sounds crazy? The truth is often weirder than fiction.
Unfortunately, most of us have very little idea of what’s going on in there and even worse, very little idea of why we keep doing things. That’s good news for therapists such as me but generally bad news for mankind I reckon. So let’s look at how, “coz it’s always been like that” has become my least favourite excuse.

What do you do?First look at what drives your behaviour…and then change it.

Read More →

Hypnocoaching and NLP offers many things to its followers and practitioners.  It’s all about expanding choices; wouldn’t you like to have more choices?

One way to expand thinking and to reveal other choices that might have been previously hidden from you is to think ‘differently’.  The process of reframing can be as complicated as you like, but essentially it’s about looking at things in a different way, it’s about taking yourself out and looking back into a situation as an observer…to be honest, it’s about lots of things that I’ll hopefully get around to writing about one day (hopefully).bank

Here’s a little metaphorical tool that I came across a long time ago and have used to great effect in many situations.  You will have read my past posts on the use of metaphors and you already know how powerful they can be.  This one is a metaphor that helps to reframe thinking and provide motivation.  Feel free to use it with your clients.  It works especially well for those who are stuck in a rut or require a kick start to examine their options…ALL of their options.  Read More →

BABY-IN-WOMBWe hear it all the time “Doh, I’m well out of my comfort zone” and “Oh my gosh, I can’t do that”. Do you know where your comfort zone is? How do you know? Truth is…you don’t know about them all… your comfort zones exists in a continual state of ‘bendiness’.

Pahaha, I can hear you all now, “Bendiness? That’s a new word, Shaun’s finally tipped over the edge”.

I thought I’d explain a few things about comfort zones, as I understand them. Those trainers out there can use this explanation when setting out your ground rules at the start of your sessions. Those Hypnotherapists out there can really watch for areas that clients might not be committing to quite as much as they might be telling you, the Hypnocoaches out there can use this information to safely stretch your clients and those Psychologists out there can…well…analyse it and write about it later? Read More →

Your guide to visualisationHey everyone, I trust you’re all well.  A bit of visualisation for you this time; the other day, as I was driving home from a particularly upbeat training session, I got to thinking about how important imagery was to us…well, come on….there’s not much else to think about whilst driving on the motorway is there?  It’s all around us – imagery I mean (not boring motorways), and IMHO we can’t live without it.  Even words, if you think about it, are a form of imagery.  Where would my blogging be if I couldn’t fall back on images in the form of words and pictures?

It’s because imagery is so important to us that we can use it very effectively in the Hypnocoaching world.  Imagery and visualising images is such an important tool that I can’t believe I haven’t written on it until now…Ooops!  I aim to remedy that right now with this blog, I hope you find it interesting…as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to discuss further – very competitive rates!  LoL. Read More →