Posts tagged insomnia
Posts tagged insomnia
1. Look for a strong enough reason to get up early in the morning. Without motivation it is hard to sustain.
2. Avoid stimulants late at night (tea, coffee, chocolate, nicotine etc) as they often interfere with healthy sleep patterns, and leave us feeling tired and worn out.
3. Related to this, start going to bed slightly earlier so you’ve had enough sleep when it’s time to get up.
4. Work up to rising earlier in small steps. Don’t just try to cut an hour from your sleep. Set the alarm 10 minutes early the first week … then 10 minutes earlier the week after that … and so on, until you’ve reached your goal.
5. Set multiple alarm clocks around the room so you have to get up to switch them all off.
6. Write your goal out on a piece of paper and position it in a prominent spot (eg above your bed, at eye level on your bedroom door, or in the middle of your bathroom mirror).
7. Make yourself accountable to others. Have a friend (who gets up early themselves) ask you how well you did, each day.
8. Plan a schedule that requires you getting up early. If you deliberately fill your day with pre-arranged appointments you’ll have to rise early to fit everything in.
1. Most dreams are based on visual images (Except in people who were either born blind, or who lost their sight at an early age). Occasionally, dreams will include sound and touch.
2. The normal rules of logic do not apply in dreams. For example, the dream may be taking place in one location – then, abruptly, the dreamer is translocated to a completely different place.
3. Most dreams occur in a house – but this is usually not your own home. The most frequently reported room is the living room. People rarely dream about their work place or school.
4. The most frequent scenario is the dreamer plus two other people.
5. Famous people seldom appear in our dreams. The vast majority of people dream about people who are significant to them, especially if there is an ongoing conflict.
6. Mundane activities (such as brushing your teeth) rarely appear in dreams.
7. Dreams tend not to be happy events, and the three most common reported emotions are anger, sadness and fear.
8. Some themes are so common that they are reported the world over. These universal themes include the loss of a tooth, falling or flying, exhibition, arriving late for exams or other important events, and being chased or attacked.
9. Cross-cultural research indicates that our dreams reflect normal life events in our own country and culture.
10. There appear to be some differences in the content of dreams between the two sexes. Specifically, women are more likely to dream about their children, family or household activities; men are more likely to dream about strangers, violence, sexual activity, achievement, and outdoor events.
1. Avoid taking naps in the late afternoon or early evening.
2. Don’t use your laptop or watch TV in bed. (Avoid bright lights and screens.)
3. Try and wind down before you go to bed. (For example, don’t exercise or check your emails.)
4. Sleep in a cool, comfortable room.
5. Avoid liquids for at least 2 hours before going to bed. (If you waken up to empty your bladder it’s often hard to fall asleep again.)
6. Avoid stimulants in the evening – like coffee, tea or cigarettes.
7. Try and establish regular bedtimes, and a set bedtime routine.
8. Get up and do something if you can’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes.
9. Redirect your thoughts if you’ve had a nightmare, or if you find that you’re fixating on your anxieties.
10. Try and relax your body and mind by listening to calming music, white noise, or slowly and deliberately relaxing your muscles.
1. Exercising: Exercising raises your body temperature for up to three hours. That can make it harder to relax and fall asleep.
2. Having a hot shower or bath: Although a bath can be relaxing, if it’s too late at night your body won’t have time to cool down sufficiently - so both your body and mind will be alert.
3. Using your laptop or watching TV: The lights on these screens have been shown to affect the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Hence, they waken you up when you need to fall asleep.
4. Reaching for a drink: Sipping some water will stop you feeling parched but a hot cup of cocoa - or any other drink – may cause you to wake up for a bathroom break. That interrupts your sleep and will leave you feeling tired.
5. Working: Working early in the evening leaves you time to relax. But working till it’s late can leave you feeling stressed – then you can’t fall asleep as you’ve too much on your mind.
6. Having a serious conversation or an argument: A study by sleep researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that an emotional response, and the memories associated with them, are intensified if we attempt to sleep right afterwards.
Some people choose to “get away” with less sleep, and this attitude is often rewarded in our society. But lack of sleep can actually make you less productive, even if you feel as though you’re getting more done. And sleep deprivation can do much more than hurt your productivity - it can damage your health as well.
Sleep helps your body to repair itself. It also helps your mind absorb and “file” the day’s learning. When we deprive ourselves of sleep, we notice the effects both mentally and physically. In the short term, these effects include:
· careless mistakes
· difficulty concentrating
· slower reaction times
· increased stress
These short-term effects can affect our relationships, our performance at work or school, and our ability to enjoy life. They may even increase the risk of injury and accidents at work or on the road.
After only a few days of sleep deprivation, the body undergoes changes similar to “fast-forward” aging: memory loss, metabolism problems (with sugar and hormones), and poor athletic performance. If sleep deprivation continues over the long term, it increases the risk of more serious health problems, such as:
· a weakened immune system
· diabetes (the body cannot process sugar properly)
· high blood pressure
The good news is that you can prevent these long-term problems by recognizing the early signs that you aren’t getting enough sleep, and increasing the amount of sleep you’re getting until you feel well rested. But remember: the greater the “sleep debt” that you have, the longer it will take to recover.
We’ve all experienced a sleepless night - and know how it affects our mood the next day. We feel out of sorts, are easily annoyed, and feel as if our problems are insurmountable. However, our perspective is restored by a good night’s sleep and we return to being reasonable and sane again!
This anecdotal evidence has also been researched, and scientific studies have confirmed that it is true – and that sleep deprivation affects our mental health.
For example, some studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (Dinges et al., 1997) revealed that only receiving 4.5 hours of sleep a night for a period of a week led to subjects feeling more stressed, negative, angry, sad, and worn out. However, once they returned to normal levels, their mood improved significantly.
Perhaps of greater concern, is the long term effect of sleep deprivation on mental health. For example, we know that roughly one fifth of insomniacs will be diagnosed with major depression (Breslau et al., 1996). Also, they are at higher risk of anxiety disorders (Weissman et al, 1996) – and especially of developing panic disorders. In fact, the risk disorder is 20 times greater than is found in those who are not sleep deprived (Neckelmann, D. et al., 2007).
Thus, a chronic loss of sleep can affect how we feel and can also be linked to mental health concerns.