I am passionate about positive mental health but in striving to achieve it, the importance of sleep and rest is often underestimated. Indeed sleep and rest are central to positive health such that the #littlesteps mental health campaign is promoting the importance of sleep.
There is nothing worse than tossing and turning in bed, with your mind racing through concerns of the day and of tomorrow.
Here are 13 practical ‘Doing Strategies’
Cut Out Daytime Napping.
Cat napping solves short term fatigue but can cause l insomnia by disturbing normal sleep rhythms.
People who report insomnia often complain that they have physical tension and are mentally alert when they want to sleep. You need to wind down. Your body needs a cue to know its time to go asleep. Wind down avoid working, studying, arguing, watching exciting TV shows, exercising etc.
Create A Bedroom For Sleep
As a psychologist a TV, particularly in a child or adolescent bedroom is a disaster for so many reasons – sleep, academic performance, etc. Make your room restful, peaceful and tranquil so you can score some snore. Get the temperature, noise level, and lighting.
Darkness keeps your melatonin hormone pumping so you can more easily return to rest and sleep. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.
Avoid Caffeine After Lunch
Caffeine is a stimulate so can influence later sleep. It is found not just in coffee, but tea, chocolate, cocoa and some cold and allergy remedies (check the labels).
No late meals or exercise
Don’t exercise or eat heavy meals within 2 hours of bedtime.
Our circadian cycle is critical to our sleep. Exercise impacts on this and if completed before bedtime it can impact on our sleep.
Try to generate a relatively fixed sleep pattern. Keeping a regular sleep cycle even at weekends creates an internal biological clock that will support your sleep.
Avoid Alcohol within two hours of bedtime
Alcohol may help you fall asleep but you may not know that increases wakefulness later in the night, make snoring worse and impact on sleep apnoea.
The bed is for sleep and sex. Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, pay bills, do work, read or play computer games. So when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep.
Sex is the only exception!
Avoid Worrying, clockwatching, & trying
Don’t try to force the onset of sleep as its only increases body tension and mental alertness. Try not ot take your worries to bed.
Some people find it useful to assign a “worry period” during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
Leave the Bedroom When Unable to Sleep
Don’t clock watch if you are not able to sleep get up. You don’t want to associate the bedroom with non-sleep activities. Get up for 10-20 minutes. Read until you get sleepy and try to go into your sleep routine again.
Workshop: Transform Stress, Depression and Anxiety into Hope & Freedom.
Saturday May 23 from 10am to 1pm. Register at 9.30am
Portarlington Enterprise Centre, Canal Rd, Portarlington.
€149.99 for one person or €179.99 for two (it is helpful to bring a supporter).
Book on 0871302899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org