Welcome to another Manic Monday Post. Every Monday I post something mental health related. I hope you find these posts helpful.
GIVEAWAY! For the entire month of September, if you leave a comment on any Manic Monday post, or subscribe to my blog, or sign up for my newsletter you are entered to win this lovely journal. If you do all three–that’s three chances to win! (U.S/Canada residents only.
(I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past week.)
Manic Monday: Wooing Mr. Sandman
Daily I work with clients on how to improve their sleep. Here’s some of the causes of poor sleep and some of the best drug-free solutions.
The Caffeine Curse
At least once a week someone sits in my office complaining about not being able to fall asleep or get into a deep sleep and as they are complaining it’s 3pm and they are drinking a cup of coffee the size of a bucket.
The caffeine curse is when you don’t sleep well so you drink more caffeine to stay awake, but then that causes you to not be able to fall asleep or sleep deeply.
Solution: Have only 12ounces of a caffeinated beverage in the morning and no caffeine after noon. Gasp!
A side note about caffeine: caffeine doesn’t really wake you up. Caffeine causes your body to have an mini anxiety reaction and that’s what wakes you up. That story about someone sitting in my office complaining about not be able to fall asleep—the same holds true to people complaining about anxiety while they’re drinking half a gallon of Mt. Dew during our session.
Make Friends With Stress
Do you hustle and bustle and work until you are absolutely exhausted and then fall into bed desperate for sleep only to have your mind decide to think about all the stuff you have to do tomorrow, next week, next month and how you screwed up everything you did today? Well, that’s usually an indication that you aren’t managing your stress well throughout the day. You are busy busy busy—not giving your mind time to process everything so it decides when you finally lay down to think think think.
Solution: Actively work on managing your stress. Create time during the day for stress management. Learn how to do deep breathing (it’s more than just breathing deep). Learn how to meditate. Take a yoga class. Read powerful inspiring books. Take a nap. Google relaxation skills. Actively implement those things into your daily routine.
Exercise For a Sleepy Mind
Most people know the health benefits of exercise, but it also helps sleep. Exercising in the morning can help you fall asleep faster at night and stay asleep. Key words: in the morning. Exercising at night can cause your system to be too stimulated to fall asleep or cause you to wake up earlier than your alarm. And that sucks.
Story Time: It’s Not Just For Kids
Sometimes even if you are managing your stress well when you lay down your mind starts wandering from topic to topic. And that keeps you from falling asleep.
Solution: Listen to an audio book. Pop in some ear buds, set the timer on whatever app/device you are using and let yourself be story-timed to sleep.
The light in electronic devices actually stimulates the brain into awareness, so if you have trouble falling asleep—using an electronic device to ‘get sleepy’ isn’t the smartest decision. No TV. No iPad. No cell phone.
What Kind of Relationship Do You Have With Your Bed?
We are creatures of habit. So if your habit is to lay in bed not sleeping you are creating a not-sleeping relationship with your bed.
Solution: If you’ve been trying to fall asleep and more than thirty minutes have passed, it’s time to go somewhere else. Move to the couch or a spare bedroom. You want your body to make the connection that your bed is for sleep. Not laying there trying to sleep.
Hear No Evil
A lot of women have trouble staying asleep because they have Mommy-hearing. Women are genetically programmed to listen for crying babies so any little noise in the night has the ability to wake them up. They hear their dog walk around the house, a car drive down their street, a train whistle from three miles away. All those sounds wake them up. Sometimes they can fall back asleep. Sometimes not.
Solution (Only for women who have a partner and no young children): Earplugs! Yes. A two dollar pair of earplugs can give you best night of sleep ever! Seriously. No joke. I swear by earplugs. I use them all the time.
Want to know one sure fired way to kill your ability to sleep?
Checking the time.
Yep. That kills sleep—dead—every time. If you are laying there trying to fall asleep and you check the time and notice you’ve been laying there an hour—your brain begins to react to that—usually with frustration or anxiety which are both sleep killers.
Checking time in the middle of the night is just as bad. Your brain calculates the time versus when you have to wake up and then begins to freak out that you only have another two hours to sleep and you can’t sleep and you want to sleep and it pisses you off that your so tired but can’t fall back asleep… See where I’m going with this?
Solution: “Mindfully” set your alarm for the next morning so you don’t fall into the did-I-set-my-alarm excuse for checking the time. And then turn your alarm clock so it faces the wall. Or if you use your cell phone as your alarm, make the conscious decision that you won’t look at it until the alarm goes off. You wouldn’t believe how many of my clients who’ve suffered with dreadful sleep problems for years solved their entire problem just by refusing to check the time.
**These things I have listed to help you sleep not only work for my clients, but work for me too! I use them all.
Which of these things sounds interesting for you to try?
Have you ever tried any of them? What were your results?
Anything surprise you?
(Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win the journal)
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*Check out last week’s Manic Monday Post: Death of Guru
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first book will be out Summer 2016.