Self care for chronic depletion part 2.0: sleep hygiene

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

This is the second blog post in my 4 part series on self care for clients receiving CranioSacral treatments for chronic depletion. Clients receiving regular CST for depletion, trauma, complex medical conditions, will really want to make sure they’re taking care of themselves between sessions so they can fully heal.

Sleep.  We all know how important it is for healing and recovery.  If you are working towards bringing yourself out of a depleted state, obtaining good sleep is muy importante.  In our modern world sleep has become more elusive and this can become a vicious cycle of poor sleep, causing anxiety due to lack of sleep, then the anxiety creates more sleep problems.  https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/what-causes-insomnia

Reading about and listening to podcasts about sleep has become an interest of mine.  I never had sleep issues until my daughter was born in 2014. She started sleeping through the night around 18 months and that’s when I realized I had insomnia.  The constant wakings, combined with other life stressors, threw my sleep rhythm off and it hasn’t been the same since. However, I have learned a great deal in the last 5 years and I am here to share some resources and tips about better sleep and insomnia.

SLEEP HYGIENE

Sleep hygiene, does that mean you make sure everything in your bedroom is really squeaky clean? No. Sleep hygiene is creating the right environment for your body to shift into nighty night mode. Here are some sleep hygiene tips to consider:

1. Associate your bed with sleep.

-keep your bed for sleep and sex, that’s it. Put that Iphone away!  In fact, charge it away from your bedside so you won’t be tempted. 

-If you are laying wide awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and go to another room.  If you live in a tiny place, at least sit in a chair, not in your bed. 

2. Turn down the lights. 

-Not all lighting is created equal.  Invest in some lamps that you can replace with the old fashioned incandescent bulbs.  These do not mimic daylight the way flourescent and LED lights do. While these lighting systems are more energy efficient, they are telling your brain that it is still daylight and it can be inhibiting the production of melatonin.  Put night lights with incandescent bulbs in your bathrooms so you aren’t blasted by a ray of sunlight when you go to brush your teeth before bed. 

-If you absolutely must be on a screen an hour or 2 before bed, buy some goofy blue blocker glasses.  Those screens emit blue light which also make your brain think it’s daylight.  

3. Create a mindful and regular pre sleep routine.

-After you’ve gotten some new lamps, make it part of your routine an hour before bed to turn down the lights and choose a calming activity to transition your mind to sleepy town.  You can “train” your body to become sleepier and calm your nervous system before bed. 

4. Keep a consistent schedule. 

-You will be training your internal clock to get sleepy and awake well if you keep consistent bedtimes and rise times. Even if you have poor sleep the night before, wake up at your normal rise time, your body will crave the sleep the next night.

5. Exercise regularly.

-Voluntary cardiovascular exercise 5-6 times per week for at least 40 minutes is shown to also be good for your brain and to successfully combat feelings of depression in addition to helping your sleep.  

-For many people, exercising 3-6 hours before bedtime will allow for a natural rise then fall for body temperature. 

6. Avoid heavy meals late into the evening.  However a light carb snack, like pretzels or crackers, will create a seratonin surge and might help with falling asleep. 

7. Avoid substances that disrupt sleep, especially within several hours of bedtime

-Caffeine has a half life of 5-6 hours.  So if you have a double latte at 4pm, there is still 1 shot of espresso in your system at 10 pm.  My husband is one of those people that can drink coffee and be able to fall asleep right away, so is his mom.  I can’t even eat chocolate after dinner because the caffeine from a few squares gets me wired before bed time! 

-Alcohol and pot might help you pass out but being sedated is not sleep.  Still go have fun with your friends but just know, that is not the same quality of sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-alcohol-affects-quality-and-quantity-sleep

-Nicotine

8. Use natural light to your advantage.  No amount of indoor light is going to mimic the sun, even on a cloudy day.  This will help regulate your circadian rhythm. 

Read on in my next blog post about more tips and information about sleep.

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