How many hours of sleep are you achieving per night? Getting a good night's sleep is vital for physical and emotional health, mental focus, concentration, and memory. You may already suspect this if you’re frequently feeling tired, have low energy, are irritable, anxious, and unable to wind down. When we sleep, all the things that we have observed during the day get stored away and our brain is ready to process new information for the next day. Our bodies restore themselves so that we can heal from workouts, injuries, and obtain a stronger immune system. Stress can affect sleep, however, not getting the efficient hours of sleep can make it even
more difficult to cope with the stress.
At Insight for Wellness Center, we see many anxiety and depression related symptoms that can be connected to insomnia or poor sleep habits. We evaluate your sleep pattern, food intake, exercise and environmental issues. This includes work, home, and relationships. Research shows that a combination of a good sleep hygiene and cognitive restructuring (learning to be aware of your thoughts and changing them to bring yourself to the moment) helps improve overall sleep.
At our center, we use an eclectic approach which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), BrainTap Technology (NLP), Progressive Relaxation/Guided Meditation and Sleep Hygiene rituals. NLP stands for Neurolinguistic Programming. BrainTap technology is an adjunct therapy that we use to help change the way we think and process negative events in life. When we are experiencing stress, it may be difficult to shut our minds down at night. This is treatable with the right tools and techniques for efficiency. Unfortunately, many people rely solely on medication. Self medicating with alcohol to help with sleep may initially put you to sleep, but studies have shown that it actually causes disrupted sleep and can lead to depression or dependence.
Pain from injury or inflammation also affects our sleep patterns. We educate and have CBD products that are not habit forming. CBD is reported to help decrease inflammation and pain, which can bring you back on track with your sleep. If you are experiencing challenges with sleep, memory, stress, anxiety, or depression, start by keeping a sleep log. A sleep log can help you and your therapist understand your night routine and sleep pattern. Once your pattern is recognized, you may put the log away and begin your sleep rituals. Research shows that a good night’s sleep may slow down the aging process, improve your health, improve your looks, help you get energized, and can improve your desire for intimacy.
Here are few tips:
- Keep your room cool. Our body temperature changes when we sleep. Feeling hot can wake you up.
- Pay attention to what you wear. Your PJ's may be getting in the way. Don't go to bed with your house clothes on or PJ's that are to tight, too loose, or too hot.
- Lights out and noise off. Eye masks and earplugs help create sensory deprivation which is known to help with insomnia and overstimulation. Darkness increases melatonin while we sleep. Serotonin is increased when we awake and open the shades to look out at a bright day.
- Smells away. Do not use heavy fragranced products. Synthetic scents can disrupt sleep and cause headaches. Natural scents such as lavender may help.
- Develop a routine sleep preparation pattern. We refer to this as Sleep Hygiene.
- Turn TV, PC, and tablets off.
- Practice guided meditation.
- Take a soothing bath or shower before bed.
Katerina Rozakis, PhD, LCSW, DAPA , BCIM