by Lucas Myers
With people juggling work, school, friends, families, and the 1,001 other things we've got to do everyday, Americans are not getting enough sleep. This week we continue our 3 part series 10 Tips to Stop Sleep Anxiety: More Rest, Less Stress.
8. Don't cheat
Although a quick powernap can be a great way to boost energy during the day, don't over do it. Limit daytime naps to 10-30 minutes at the most. Naps that go on any longer can interfere with your nighttime sleep. This is especially important to those who suffer from insomnia or poor nighttime sleep quality.
9. Stay active
Incorporating physical activity into your regular routine promotes better sleep. Those who are active tend to fall asleep faster and to sleep more deeply. Be careful when you choose to exercise though – some people notice that exercising too close to bedtime can cause them to feel too energized to relax. A stretching routine is relaxing for some. Note how exercise affects your body and plan accordingly.
10. Master your stress
As we discussed earlier, too many demands on your time and thoughts can make sleep difficult. Learn healthy ways to manage your stress. One good one is to make time to get organized, arrange priorities, delegate tasks, and focus on managing time effectively so you don't get overwhelmed. Remember, it's ok to take breaks. Make time for a hobby you enjoy, or spend time with someone you care about. If you have trouble slowing your thoughts at bedtime, jot down whatever is on your mind so you can relax knowing that it can be addressed in the morning. If anything in the environment is triggering stress, such as looking at a bedroom clock and fretting about how many hours are left before morning be sure to remove it from sight.
REMEMBER: Having an occasional sleepless night is normal, but if you are experiencing a pattern of restless or sleepless nights, don't hesitate to seek an expert, especially if lack of sleep is beginning to interfere with your normal daytime functioning. Contact your doctor to determine whether physical causes may be contributing to sleep problems. If your physical health is sound, contact a psychologist with experience treating sleep problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based treatments are highly effective for improving sleep. If you are in the San Diego area and you would like to speak with one of our other qualified therapists, you may contact the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management at 858-354-4077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dement, William C; Vaughan, Christopher (1999). The promise of sleep: a pioneer in sleep medicine explores the vital connection between health, happiness, and a good night's sleep. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-385-32008-6.
Sleep Tips: Seven steps for better sleep. Mayo Clinic Staff. Retreived on November 25th, 2013 from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep/HQ01387