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Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well.
- If anxiety or chronic worrying dominates your thoughts at night, there are steps you can take to learn to break the mental habit and look at life from a more positive perspective. Even counting sheep is more productive than worrying at bedtime.
- If the stress of work, family, or school is keeping you awake, you may need help with stress management. By learning how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you’ll be able to sleep better at night.
- The more overstimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be slow down and unwind at night. During the day, many of us over-stress our brains by constantly interrupting tasks to check our phones, emails, or social media. Try to set aside specific times for these things, and focus on one task at a time. When it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain won’t be accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation and you’ll be better able to unwind.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm. Read the rest of this entry
Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine and nicotine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.
- Avoid big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. While a nightcap may help you relax, it interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out.
- Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two. Read the rest of this entry
A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. Read the rest of this entry
Not getting enough sleep is a common problem for us Americans. We run around sleep deprived and stressed out. This takes a heavy toll on our bodies and degrades our health. The most important thing that you can do to improve your health is to improve your sleep.
The first thing to mention is the paradox that the more tired you are, the less likely you are to sleep well. Read the rest of this entry
So, the pole reflects that 1/2 of you have difficulty with sleeping on a regular basis. Thus I have decided to put out some suggestions and thoughts regarding sleep hygiene.
First, what is sleep hygiene? The National Sleep Foundation defines as:
Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.
This post is both a clinical review of the disorder and an attempt to help others understand the way it deeply effects those diagnosed with it. I personally have this diagnosis and often have a difficult time expressing to others why that matters. I’ve collected quotes that I think help illuminate the experience and while they may not seem to be related to the clinical matters discussed here I have sprinkled them through out this post. I invite you to try to imagine the impact this would have in your life.