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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lack of Sleep (Sleep Problem)

Rose knows while we read of the devastation in Haiti and how people are trying to find a safe place to sleep many of us find that stress is a reason we have a lack of sleep and sleep problems. Worrying about family issues, things we have to do can leave us feeling fatigued and restless from a cycle of sleep deprivation.

Sometimes these sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea are caused from pain-related problems which may justify the use of pain medications while other sleep problems may respond to different treatments, for instance cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  CBT has been used to treat various disorders like; depression, anxiety, pain management and insomnia.  CPAP therapy is known to help those with sleep apnea as pain medication may contribute to sleep apnea symptoms.  Chronic sleep deprivation can cause sleep problems and many other health and emotional issues if not treated. One can also experience insomnia when they have to adjust to working a new shift or even jet lag.

If you occasionally have trouble getting to sleep CBT can help you change your thinking and lifestyle as many adults stress about their lack of sleep. Believing that you will have something go wrong if you don’t get to sleep only adds to your stress.  People that are anxious about falling asleep will often set up a cycle of staying awake as long as possible which is a self-defeating dynamic of aggravation and restlessness during the day.  Though you should feel somewhat tired to go to bed, you should also institute a sleep routine which establishes a set time to retire every night.   This sleep routine will also train your mind and body that it is time to retire.  Part of the routine could be taking a warm bath, reading a book or watching television. Remember: your bed is a place for sleep and sex only and never for reading, computers, video games or TV.  If you need something to keep your mind off your problems try sleep music, white noise or self-hypnotic CDs.

If you can’t get to sleep get up for a bit before trying to fall asleep again.  If at any night you don’t get enough sleep don’t worry about trying to counteract for the lack of sleep.  Your body will automatically compensate and eventually will get enough suitable rest.  If you try to make up for sleep by taking a nap in the afternoon limit your nap to 20-30 minutes and before 4pm.  If you nap longer or later in the day it may disrupt your night time routine as it will take you longer to fall asleep or get sleepy enough for you to go to bed at your designated bedtime.

The best way to limit lack of sleep that causes sleep problems is to learn to relax your body and mind.  Meditation or deep breathing exercises will help calm your nervous system and also keep you from thinking about self-defeating, stress inducing thoughts.  Reframing from negative thinking is essential to treat sleep problems.  Learning ways through lifestyle changes and positive thinking will help you get the sleep you need.  If you are experiencing chronic sleep deprivation that is causing other health concerns contact your physician as he may recommend other alternative methods of treatment.  If you decide to take OTC medications or supplements to help you sleep, let your doctor know as sleep aides may interfere with other medications or health issues.

Good Day
Rose Sheepskill 

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