To Sleep Or Not To Sleep I. What can poor sleep lead to? Increased Irritability & mood Swings Poor Concentration & tolerance level Low energy Daydreaming during to day Not being able to complete tasks Poor Job Performance Forgetting things Misplacing things Doing things wrong Poor ability to retain information Inability to deal with stress Poor decision-making Weakens immune system II. How Can I improve my sleep pattern? Make sure you are sleeping on a proper mattress. Comfort is fundamental when trying to sleep. Develop a consistent sleep schedule. Determine the time you will be going to sleep and the time you want to sleep and maintain that schedule everyday. This allows your body to establish a routine for your body to use daily. Relax before going to sleep and try not to think or plan for the next day. Turn the lights off dim them low or use a night-light. The more light there is the longer it will take for you to fall asleep. Schedule daily exposure to outdoor sunlight, especially in the late afternoon. This will help your body keep track of the time during the day. Change your sheets and fluff up your pillow. Fresh and clean sheets will provide you will more comfort. Use pillows to provide support. Pillows can make you feel more comfortable if used between the knees or under the waist. For people with back problems, lying on the side with a large pillow between the knees may be also being helpful. Tak a warm shower or bath 60-90 minutes before bedtime. Your temperature rises when you take a warm bath, which will keep you from falling asleep right away. Avoid watching the T.V when falling asleep, as this will keep you awake longer. Play some relaxing music (classical or soft). Anything that will put you to sleep. Cd’s or Tape are available at the nearest music shops. Avoid going to sleep on an empty stomach. This will cause you to become irritable and uncomfortable. Try having an evening meal at least by 7:00pm and/or a light snack like a fruit or cookies. Have a light carbohydrate or daily snack before going to sleep. A glass of warm milk can also be helpful. Only eat small amounts. Avoid Chocolate or Sugar as they are stimulants and will keep you awake. Avoid drinks like Cola and tea, which have caffeine. Having a cup of decaffeinated tea can help relax your body and mind before going to sleep. Chamomile and peppermint are known to calm the nerves.
Avoid drinking too must liquids throughout the day as it will cause you to go repeatedly throughout the night. Do some exercise to get your body tired. Burning a little calorie can not only be good for your health but also help relax you enough to put you to sleep. (Avoid exercise at lest 2-4 hours before going to sleep) try to exercise in the morning, late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Light stretching exercises will help you relax your muscles. Avoid caffeine and smoking at least 4-6 hours before going to sleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and will help keep you awake. Avoid Alcohol at least 4-6 hours before going to sleep as it can cause you to get up repeatedly throughout the night. Avoiding taking naps during the day. It is never good to sleep too much or too little. An average of 5-8 hours per night should be sufficient time for resting the body depending on your age. The older we get, the harder it is for us to sleep without getting up at night. Make sure the temperature in your room is just right. You don’t want to it to be too cold nor or hot. Use your bedroom only for sleep. Avoid eating, watching TV and/or socializing in your bedroom. This will allow you to strengthen your mind and body to use the bed for sleep more. Start preparing to go to sleep at least 1 hr in advance to allow you to prepare mentally and physically. (Take a shower or warm bath, drink and cup or tea, put on some soft music, dim the lights, fluff pillows, change sheets doing some light stretching exercises etc.) Avoid looking at the watch at it will keep you distracted and awake. If you cannot fall asleep within 15 minutes or awake during the night and cannot go back to sleep, leave your bedroom and do something boring until you feel sleepy again. Try not to go to bed until you get sleepy. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR if your sleep does not improve after trying these suggestions Written By: Tamara A. Monell, LMHC Date: October 3, 2007