Q & A
Do you have trouble falling asleep, or toss and turn all night? Do you stress out when you go to bed because you know you won’t sleep? Everyone loses sleep occasionally, and many of us don’t need as much sleep as others – but all these sleep issues can become emotional, physical as well as addiction problems.
The topic for June is Sleep Deprivation. Are you sleep deprived? Stay up worrying about what you have to face the next day? This information can help.
Most adults need approx 7 - 8 hrs of sleep each night. But it’s different for each one of us. So how do you know how many hours you need? You’ll know what you need, if you’re not tired the next day. And you should also know that insomnia is NOT really a serious health problem. It can however, make you depressed, irritable and you’re more prone to having accidents and drink, over-eat, etc. because you're stressed.
The key to treating sleep loss is to ask yourself why you can’t get to sleep. Do you have physical pain? Are you nervous about a problem or situation and it’s spinning around in your head? Discover the cause of the sleep deprivation, so you can put it behind you.
If you have a serious medical condition you should always consult a physician.
As we age, not only our bodies change, our sleep patterns also are affected. It is not uncommon for elderly people to sleep less at night and take cat-naps during the day. Not everyone needs those 7 – 8 uninterrupted hours.
The aging process affects alcohol, medication
and may interfere with sleep
What we do during the day effects our nights. For instance, if you eat late, chances are you won’t be able to fall asleep right away. The same, if you nap in the afternoon. You may feel tired, but if you give in to a nap, don’t expect that you’ll feel tired at bed-time. Good sleep habits mean getting up and going to sleep, at the same time every night.
As little as 20 - 30 minutes of exercise during the day helps if you’re looking to sleep well. But don’t do vigorous exercise – take a walk, ride a bike – remember that too much stimulation will prevent you from sleeping.
Do not play computer games, IM, Facebook etc. before bed. These can be stimulating activities and will keep your thoughts spinning, - even when your head hits the pillow. It’s more relaxing to read a book or flip through magazines.
Can’t sleep? Take a drink right? You’ve heard this before. Although you may fall asleep, it’s not a peaceful sleep. This can become habit forming and that’s how many people start on the road to addiction
Find out if you're at risk.
Smoking and Caffeine
Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants. Sleep can be affected 10-12 hrs after drinking so cut down on coffee, teas and sodas.
If you’re eating a heavy meal, give yourself at least 2 hrs before bed. Try eating lighter meals and eat earlier in the evening. If you’re hungry before bed, eat a banana, drink chamomile tea. Other bedtime snacks can be low sugar cereal or granola with low fat yogurt. Warm milk and ½ a sandwich is another suggestion – but make sure to keep it light.
When you can’t sleep, don't get up and raid the fridge. This can become habit forming.
Are you a compulsive eater?
Foods that interfere with sleep are: rich food, fatty food, spicy food, too much alcohol, caffeine and drinking lots of fluid.
When the mind is not at ease it's difficult to go to sleep, as well as to stay asleep. All of us have stress in our lives, but the mind has to relax. You can train your mind to calm down by talking
learning to change your thinking
1) Make a to-do list for the next day then tell yourself you’ll handle it tomorrow.
2) Write a worry list and tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do now, so go to sleep.
3)listen to relaxing music before bed
4) If you can’t go to sleep in 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something – not the computer, housework or anything stimulating – get up and read.
5) Make sure your bed is large enough and that you are comfortable in it.
6) Make sure the room is dark
7) Make sure the room is neither too hot nor cold
8) Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every night
9) Use relaxation techniques: meditation tape, yoga – this will get both your body and mind to relax.
10) If you’re in bed, engage your brain in a non-stimulating exercise ex. counting sheep, or visualization
Use medication as a last resort. Over-the-counter medication can cause side-effects ex. rebound insomnia (then you’re worse than you were in the first place) as well as dependency.
If you are using prescription medication to get to sleep, have it monitored by a medical professional. And never take alcohol with sleep medication.
Q & A
Please Help!! My beautiful, intelligent, 16-year-old daughter just got caught shoplifting! What should I do?
The first thing to do is not to react and get more information. Was your child charged? If so chances are this was not the first time -- so getting caught can be a wake-up call.
There may be
Do you know who her friends are? Find out if she’s under any particular stress. The 'high' of escaping from anxiety through shoplifting releases the pressure, but it also can become a compulsive behavior.
Find a counselor who's familiar with teens and anxiety issues. During a crisis your child is more receptive to getting help – so get professional help while she's still open to it.
Shoplifting is a crime, and it also can become addictive compulsive behavior.
All the best!!
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Do you say too much to others and then regret it? Setting boundaries. That's the topic for July.
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