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Get A Good Night’s Sleep (Regularly)

awake-at-nightHealthy sleep patterns are a common casualty of the 24/7 pace of the modern world. To some, a good night’s sleep is seen almost as a treat, but sufficient sleep is essential to your overall well-being. Lack of sleep can be both a cause and effect of anxiety.

Do’s and Don’ts of Developing a Healthy Sleep Pattern
DO:
• Exercise during the day. Twenty minutes or more of aerobic exercise in the late afternoon, or a brisk thirty minute walk before bedtime is helpful.
• Go to bed and get up at regular times. Even if you’re tired in the morning, make an effort to stick to your scheduled wake-up time. Your body prefers a regular cycle of sleep and wakefulness.
• Develop a sleep ritual before bedtime.This is some activity you do before turning in.
• Reduce noise. Use earplugs or a noise-making machine, if necessary.
• Block out excess light.
• Have separate beds if your partner snores, kicks, or tosses and turns.
• Have physically and emotionally satisfying sex. This often aids sleep.
• See a psychotherapist if necessary. Anxiety and depressive disorders commonly produce insomnia. Talking to a competent professional can help.
• Turn yourself down during the last hour or two of the day. Avoid vigorous physical or mental activity, or mental upsets.
• Try a hot shower or bath before bedtime.

DON’T:
• Try to force yourself to sleep. If you’re unable to fall asleep after thirty minutes in bed, leave your bed, engage in some relaxing activity such as listening to a relaxation tape, meditating or having a cup of herbal tea. Return to your bed only when you’re sleepy.
• Have a heavy meal before bedtime or go to bed hungry.
• Indulge in heavy alcohol consumption before bedtime. For some folks, a small glass of wine before bedtime may help, but your consumption should not exceed this.
• Have too much caffeine. Try to limit caffeine intake to the mornings. If you’re sensitive to it, avoid caffeine altogether.
• Smoke cigarettes. Nicotine is a mild stimulant.
• Engage in non-sleep activities in bed. Avoid activities such as working or reading in bed. This tends to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.
• Nap during the day. Short catnaps (15 to 20 minutes) are okay, but long naps of an hour or more may interfere with sleep during that evening.
• Let yourself be afraid of insomnia. Work on accepting those nights when you don’t sleep well. You can still function the next day, even if you only had a couple of hours of sleep. The less you fight, resist, or fear sleeplessness, the more it will tend to go away.

South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering CBT counseling, EFT modalities – (tapping), therapeutic counseling, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists please call (631)286-8282, e-mail us at SSCounseling1@optonline.net or visit our website, Southshorecounselingcenter.net.

Filed in: Ask Michelle

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