Sleep links to health and happiness

Blog Post No.61

Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

12th June 2019



Callout-1This blog post could just as easily have been called “Sleep better, feel better; act better; live longer; be healthier” – because all of those outcomes, and more, are a direct result of having an adequate amount of sleep of good quality, every night of your life.

But what is an ‘adequate’ amount of sleep?  We live in an era in which sleep is under attack from a number of quarters, including:

– Sleep distractors, like late night TV; internet attractions; mobile phones; tablets and laptops in the bedroom; the 24 hour city; and so on. Plus:

– Sleep disruptors, like financial stress; work strain; long commutes to and from work; ‘presenteeism’ (or staying later at work), because of the fear of redundancy; rampant, unrealistic ambition; widespread alcohol availability; excessive use of caffeine; sugary diets; and so on.

Warren Buffet on sleep

This blog includes a description of what I cover in my book, and the value it can have for everyone if they want to improve their sleep, and their happiness, and their health.

Here’s an example of the sort of information that’s in my book, which shows how sleep has a massive impact on our lives. I’m going to describe a short research study which shows the importance of naps, and why I researched sleep for over two years to get this information across to the public.

Chinese research with adolescents

Class-sleepingI read some fascinating research results in an article in The Times newspaper last Saturday which shows very clearly why, if we all get more sleep, it really benefits us.

The title of the article was: “Students should have a nap between classes.”

It seems British school children are stressed and over-tired, with a knock on effect on the quality of their lives and their academic achievements.

By contrast, Chinese scientists have been exploring the value of naps in school!  They conducted research with adolescents – 3,000 children who took part in the study that I saw. They were all 12 years old. They were allowed to have a snooze of between 30 and 60 minutes in length, at midday, and, according to the article, this is quite routine behaviour in China.

The researcher collected information by asking adolescent children questions about their level of contentment, and how often they napped and also their teachers’ assessment of the students’ academic ability and their general social behaviour in school.

These findings, from the journal, Sleep, show clearly the value of naps:

– There was a 7.6% improvement in academic performance in the children who napped 3 or more times a week, and:

– when their behaviour and IQ was measured by the researchers, it was found that they had:

  1. a) fewer problems in their behaviour,
  2. b) a higher IQ, and
  3. c) a higher level of grit and self-control.

To summarise the findings, Rhys Blakely stated: “12 year olds, who slept at midday, were found to be happier and cleverer.” The Times, June 8th, 2019, page 20. (Blakely is the science correspondent for The Times newspaper).

In a nutshell, the key finding was that students benefit from having naps between classes; just as NASA in the US in 1995, (wanting to know if their astronauts would benefit from having naps), discovered that naps increased your attentiveness and alertness by 54%).



What have I included in my book?

What kind of information have I got in my book? Here is a breakdown:

I present key research findings about the nature of sleep; the importance of sleep; the promoters and spoilers of sleep; and the supporting evidence from various studies, which are important to know about, if you care about the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family.

I included a lot of techniques for improving sleep quality; and these are clearly and simply explained.

Also, you need strategies for safeguarding your sleep in social pressure situations and these are described with clear examples.

Huffington-sleep-quote.JPGThe impact of lack of sleep on body weight is outlined – inadequate sleep leads to weight gain! – with the relevant research results; and also there is an outline of how lack of sleep reduces emotional intelligence, with examples from the workplace and home situations.

A simple yet powerful model for changing habits is described, so that you can start to work on changing your sleep behaviour.

And I describe how important it is to be well-rested before receiving new information that you have to learn off by heart. Memorising information depends on sufficient sleep, and the links are made clear.

The inescapable power which nature’s patterns of light and darkness have over human behaviour is explained.

I also describe the kinds of foods and drinks which sabotage sleep, as well as those which help to enhance sleep.

There are several different ‘chronotypes’ – (or individual patterns of wakefulness and alertness [larks, owls, etc.) – found among humans, through scientific research; and these are described; as are the implications for the ideal type of work schedule for you, based on your chronotype.

This book is easy to read; written in straightforward language; with a glossary of essential technical terms at the back.


The value of this book

Link to book description

What would you gain from reading my book on sleep?

This book explains very clearly the tried and tested techniques you can start using immediately to improve your sleep. These sleep enhancement strategies will have a positive impact on your happiness; your sense of autonomy; and develop closer, more emotionally intelligent relationships with others.

Also, if you are a student, or need to learn a lot of information for your work, extra sleep will have a very beneficial effect on your memory.

My book shows the ways to block the sleep thieves that are operating all around you – (dietary, mental, social and environmental) – so you feel better, happier and more in control of your life.

It gives you essential information to show you how healthy and nutritious sleep can be restored without financial costs.

childre-reading-at-nightYou will know how to make your bedroom a sanctuary where you can recover fully from the day’s stresses; and understand why siestas and naps are so beneficial that the Japanese Health Ministry now recommends that people make sure they get one every day!

Your relationships at work and at home will be transformed by the extra energy, patience, and emotional intelligence that you will find from having sufficient, high quality sleep.

This book will show you the effects of lack of sleep on the ability to read other people accurately, its effect on empathy and how morale and motivation at work is negatively affected by sleep-deprived managers.


The myth that you need less sleep as you get older is examined, and the reality of teenagers needing more sleep is explained. And the positive research results from American schools, which have experimented with later starting times, is described.

If you want to improve your happiness and health, and your are skimping on your sleep at the moment, then this book could be a great boon to you!

For more information about this subject, please see my page of information about my book: Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards.***


That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


Lifestyle Coach-Counsellor

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

ABC Bookstore Online



couple relationships and abusive behaviour

Blog Post

8th December 2018

Dr Jim’s Blog: Couple relationships and the problem of abuse…


In this blog post, I want to present the core of a case study from my recent book on How to Build a Successful Relationship,  It involves a emotional abuse in a couple relationship.

Case study: Debby and Tom in conflict:

Unhappy coupleDebby D came to see me, in my office, on a cold, wet November morning. She looked undernourished, pale and sad.  She told me that her partner, Tom, had refused to come with her.

Indeed, he objected so much to the idea of couple’s therapy, and verbally abused her to such a degree, that she had promised not to proceed.

But she had come to see me anyway, because she was desperate.  She and Tom had been together for ten years, and there had been trouble from the start.  He treated her horribly; criticizing her approach to housekeeping, and her makeup.  He frightened her so much that she had started biting her nails.  Then she developed an obsessive-compulsive urge to scrub her hands until they bled.

I explored her history of relationships, working backwards from Tom, via two other serious relationships; and back to her relationship with her mother and father; and her parents’ relationship with each other.  Every single one of them had been abusive!

Debby wanted me to show her how to make Tom be more reasonable.  It took a few sessions for me to get to the point of using the ‘Best Friend Question’ with her:

Best Friend callout“Debby”, I said.  “Suppose your best friend had exactly the same problem.  She came from a disturbed family background; she had three difficult relationships, in which her partner was verbally abusive with her; what would you advise your best friend to do?”

“Kick him out!” said Debby, without a moment’s pause.

I then asked her: “If that seems to be the right solution for your best friend, is it also perhaps the solution for you and Tom?”

At this suggestion she shuddered: “But then I might lose him completely!” she protested.

“But what would be wrong with losing a partner who is abusive with you?” I asked.

“I don’t want to lose him”, protested Debby.  “I love him.  I just want him to change!”

I then tried to teach her the concept of ‘logical consequences’.

“Suppose I decided to steal food items from shops”, I began.  “What do you think would be the logical consequence?”

“You’d most likely get caught, eventually”, said Debby.

“And what is the logical consequence of getting caught?” I asked her.

“You would get a criminal record”, she suggested.

“And what if I got a criminal record, but I persisted in stealing food from shops.  What then would be the most likely logical consequence?” I asked her.

“You would most likely end up in prison”, she told me.

“Okay”, I said.  “I agree with your understanding of logical consequences in this case.  Now let us take another case”.

“Okay”, she agreed.

“Suppose a man got married to a woman, and then he began to be very critical of her housekeeping and her makeup.  What do you think the logical consequence would be?” I asked her.

“He would destroy the relationship!” she responded.

“And suppose he destroys the relationship, and his wife sticks around, and he keeps on being verbally abusive with her. What then would be the most likely logical consequence?”

“She would have to leave him”, suggested Debby.

“Okay”, I said. “If that is the logical consequence in a generic case of ‘a man and his wife’, surely that must also be the logical consequence in the case of Debby and Tom?” I asked her.

She looked defeated. She looked down at her hands.  “But I want to keep him!” she insisted.

Small 3D image of covers“Well, let me sum up the situation then”, I said.  “You and Tom are in an abusive relationship, at least on his side.  The logical consequence (or karmic debt) that Tom should earn is for you to leave him.  But you protect him from this karmic debt, by sticking around and internalizing his abuse; and transforming his karmic penalty into your own obsessive-compulsive suffering. And not just obsessive-compulsive suffering, but also sadness and depression, and a sense of despair, and self-hatred”.

Debby and I revisited this conversation several times, over a period of weeks…

…End of extract.

For more of this case study, please take a look at the information page about this book: Top Secrets for Building a Successful Relationship.***


That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ


Telephone: (44) 01422 843 629


ABC Newsletter December 2018

The ABC Newsletter, 6th December 2018

Top Secrets for Building a Successful Relationship

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling



Dr Jim Byrne

It’s been some time since I sent out a newsletter about our writing and publishing activities at ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.  Renata is at an advanced stage in the writing of her book on Sleep Science and the benefits of adequate sleep.

And I have just published my new book on How to Build a Successful Relationship.  Here is a flavour of the content of that book.

What is love?

Happy couple

According to one popular view, to create love, you have to exert yourself in pursuit of the happiness of another person.  We show our love through appropriate actions.  And inappropriate actions tend to destroy love.

When we have worked successfully to create a loving relationship, we know intimately that love is sweeter than honey; warmer than the warmest blanket; and more sustaining than the most enjoyable food.  For more, please go to this web page:

The need for love

1, Kindle Cover, SuccesSful, RelationshipKINDLE30.11 (2)Love is actually an essential requirement for a fulfilling life.  It is not an optional extra.  Love is food for the soul, from the soul! Without it, we wither and die inside.  A loveless life is a curse; a strain; a barren journey through a valueless vacuum.

Love warms the coldest night, and brightens the dullest day.  It warms the heart, and drives the blues away.  Love makes us glad to be alive, and to be connected to the one we love. For more, please go to this web page:

Learning how to love

Loving-couple3But if you come from a family background in which love was in short supply, how do you then learn to love?  How can you succeed in becoming a loving partner in a loving relationship? The answer is to read this book, by Dr Jim Byrne, based on his experience of:

– Being a couple’s therapist for more than twenty years;

– Completing his own marriage guidance in 1984, and co-creating a thirty-four-year relationship of great happiness, love and joy with his wife, Renata; And:

– Studying love and relationship and communication skills for about thirty-five years.

For more, please go to this web page:

The content of this book

In this book, you will learn:

Small 3D image of covers– Some guidelines for building a successful relationship;

– Some insights into how to manage your emotions for more effective regulation of your side of a sex-love relationship;

– How to love, actively and sensitively; Plus:

– How to communicate about anything that comes up in your relationship.  Also:

– How to avoid getting into the wrong kind of relationship, or for the wrong reasons; And/or:

– How to avoid holding unrealistic expectations of a sex-love relationship. Plus:

– Insights into your conflict-management style, and how to improve it;

– Strategies for changing any of your unhelpful relationship habits.

You will also get: (1)
Jim and Renata

– A very interesting introduction to the theory that our marriage partnership is shaped, for better or worse, in our family of origin; and how to reshape your ‘route map’ for finding a suitable partner; Or:

–  How to change the way you relate to your current partner; Plus:

– Insights into how to manage boundaries in relationships; And:

– Some illuminating case studies of couple relationships that have gone wrong; and what you can learn from those mistakes.

For more, please go to this web page:


What you can gain from studying this book:

This book is packed with useful information, presented in a ‘training manual’ form. If you follow this study program, you will gain:

1, Kindle Cover, SuccesSful, RelationshipKINDLE30.11 (2)– A greater capacity to love;

– Skills to help you to communicate more effectively with your partner;

– Insights into your conflict management style, and how to change it;

– Helpful strategies for changing your relationship habits; And, ultimately:

– Greater happiness in love and relationship, resulting from the fact that the love you create will be returned by your partner; and you will have lots more peace and harmony in your family life.


This book is available in paperback and eBook formats, via Amazon. For more on how to get it, please go to this web page:


BlueLogo13CI hope you found this newsletter interesting.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Hebden Bridge


Telephone: 44 01422 843 629



Transformational writing for success and happiness

Blog Post No. 175

By Dr Jim Byrne

15th September 2018


Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018


Dr Jim’s Blog: Transformational Writing: How I wrote a new life for myself – and how much better I feel as a result…

Writing Theapy book coverI’ve been using ‘expressive’ or ‘therapeutic’ writing for many years: resulting in priceless personal and professional insights.  Most recently, I’ve been writing on a daily basis for many weeks now.  Before that time, I wrote in my journal perhaps 3 or 4 times per week, for many months.  And before that time, I wrote intermittently – sometimes being regular and frequent, and sometimes being more hit and miss.

But overall, I’ve had some significant degree of therapeutic writing in my life for many years now.

The benefits over the years have sometimes been obvious – as when a new creative idea comes out of my Morning Pages – gets developed in subsequent pages, over a period of days or weeks – perhaps writing for 30 minutes each day.  This process has resulted in many blog posts; web pages; articles; academic papers; books; as well as answers to difficult questions; and creative problem-solving solutions.

Most recently, I’ve had a breakthrough in getting an insight into a fundamental problem with my personality-structure:

My *DRIVERS* – (‘Be Perfect’; and ‘Hurry Up’!) –

resulting in  a new degree of *mastery* over those stressful drivers of my feelings and behaviours;

and a growing sense that, the more I slow down, and the less perfectionistic I am, the more productive, creative and happy I become!

To get to this point, all I had to do was to utilize a couple of the (more than 20) techniques that I wrote about in my book, *How to Write a New Life for Yourself*.

To read some more, please take a look at the information page, by clicking the following link: *How to Write a New Life for Yourself.***


PS: If you want to see the kind of range of ideas that I write about, please go to Books about Emotive-Cognitive Therapy (E-CENT).***

That’s all for today.

Best wishes,



BlueLogo13CDr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Telephone: 44 1422 843 629



Reintegrating the body, brain and mind in counselling and therapy

ABC Blog Post

15th September 2018

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018


Dr Jim’s Blog: Mental health is not just about childhood experiences;

Or current stressors; or badly managed thoughts…

Mental health is related to diet and nutrition, inner dialogue, physical exercise, re-framing of experience, and sleep science…


Body-mindIn science as well as popular culture, the body and mind have long been pulled apart, and treated as separate entities.

And when they are treated as being connected – as in the modern psychiatric theory of ‘brain chemistry imbalances’ causing negative moods and emotions, the ‘brain chemistry’ in question is taken to be unrelated to how you use your body; what you eat; how well you sleep.

It is assumed to be ‘special brain chemistry’ – separate and apart from Lifestyle Factors – which can only be fixed by consuming dangerous drugs!

Front cover Lifestyle CounsellingIf you are interested in the impact of lifestyle practices on mental health and emotional states, then you will enjoy our page of information about how all of the ideas above are presented in our book about Lifestyle Counselling.  We see this as the core of most holistic healing practices of the future.

In the immediate future, lifestyle counselling practice will be a novel service offering for counselling and psychotherapy clients who have realized that:

# the body and mind are intimately connected;

# that the body-mind is an open system, permeated by a whole range of lifestyle factors which can be managed well, or mismanaged,

# which results in excellent or poor mental health, physical health, and personal happiness.

In the pages of our popular book on lifestyle counselling, we have presented:

Diet,exercise book cover– a summary of our previous book about the impact of diet and exercise on mental health and emotional well-being;

– a chapter which integrates psychological theories of emotion with physical sources of distress – for the emotions of anger, anxiety and depression – and recommends treatment strategies;

– a chapter on the negative effects of sleep insufficiency on our thinking, feeling and behaviour;

– a chapter on how to re-frame any problem, using our Six Windows Model (which includes some perspectives from moderate Buddhism and moderate Stoicism) – but excludes the extreme forms of those philosophies of life!);

– a chapter on how to divine and assess the counselling client’s multiple sources of emotional disturbance, using our Holistic-SOR Model;

– and a chapter on how to set about teaching lifestyle change to counselling and therapy clients.

For a page of information about this book’s contents, including extracts, and the contents pages and index pages, please click the following link: *Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person… by Jim Byrne***

And/or you could also look at our current range of six books on this area of counselling and therapy theory and practice: Books about E-CENT Counselling.***


BlueLogo13CThat’s all for now.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Telephone: 44 1422 843 629