October, 2013

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I Can’t Sleep

I Can’t Sleep!

How many times have you said that to yourself at 2 in the morning?   How many times have you found yourself watching tv or surfing the net, trying to make yourself tired so that you can go to sleep.

Many sufferers of panic attacks/anxiety also have problems getting good, quality sleep.   Lack of sleep can also contribute to your anxiety and it is important to ensure your mind and body are properly rested so that you can try and have a better day.   With lack of sleep, it is always best to speak to a doctor first.   In addition to what he recommends, here are a few tips to get you on the right path:

1.   If you have any ideas you need to remember for the next day, don’t keep thinking or re-thinking about them.   Instead, write them down on a piece of paper and you can address these ideas in the morning.

2.   Humans are creatures of habit, and it is the same if you can’t sleep.   Try and go to sleep, and wake up, at the same times each day.   Your brain will then readily accept when it needs to switch on and off.

3.   Don’t eat too late in the evening.   You should aim for finishing your last meal about 3 hours before you go to sleep.   This doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself.   Have enough to eat, to last you till breakfast.

4.   Reduce the amount of stimulants you consume each day.   This includes coffee, tea, soft drinks.   After about 2pm, switch to caffeine-free drinks like herbal tea.   Camomile tea is great for relaxation and reducing stress.

5.   Try and not have naps during the day.   This confuses the brain and disrupts the sleeping/waking cycle.

6.   Try and do some physical exercise about 3 or 4 times a week.   This reduces your adrenaline and your stress.   Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve the quality of  sleep.

7.   Your bedroom area should be associated with sleep.   When you enter the bedroom, your subconscious should assume that you are about to go to sleep, and prepare you for it.   Therefore, remove the tv, don’t use the phone in bed, or write reports etc.

8.   Don’t do anything stimulating, mentally or physically, before you go to bed.   You will keep re-running the details in your head, instead of sleeping.   I stopped watching Question Time or any political programmes prior to sleeping because the anger they induced stayed in my head for hours, preventing me from sleeping.

9.   Remove the clock face, so that you can’t see it. If you can’t sleep, you will keep looking at the time and fret about how little sleep you are going to get.   As long as you have set the alarm, you don’t need to know what time it is.

*** Disclaimer:  Please note that, as with all therapies, results may vary from person to person.


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