Friday, March 15 is World Sleep Day. Quality sleep is essential to wellness, especially for those coping with physical and/or psychological conditions. Sleep disturbance is common among those living with trauma, grief, and medical conditions, and is prevalent in the 9/11 community.
Sleep is crucial for promoting energy, concentration, and resilience. You can address sleep problems in many ways - you can seek medical advice for medications, you can seek psychotherapy, and an MD or therapist will both be able to help you with good sleep hygiene.
Here are some lifestyle tips that can help promote better sleep:
- Winding Down: As sleep time approaches try these tips to calm your body and mind for sleep
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine in the evening.
- Take a warm shower right before bedtime to increase deep sleep as your body cools.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and turn off bright lights.
- Avoid looking at a bright screen prior to bedtime- the bright light from your device or TV suppresses the sleep hormone, melatonin, which tells your brain "its time for bed."
- Use the bed for sleeping, not watching TV or working. This way, your bed becomes a cue for sleeping.
- Wear earplugs and a sleep mask if noise and light bother your sleep.
- A white noise machine may be helpful for environmental noises.
- Get regular exercise.
- Relaxation therapies such as yoga and deep abdominal breathing may be useful in initiating sleep.
- Meditation and listening to soothing music can also help with sleep issues.
- Don't lie in bed tossing and turning. Get out of bed and do some calming activity. Go back to bed when you are feeling drowsy.