Saturday, February 8, 2014

ARE YOU GETTING YOUR ZZZ'S?

by Mary Kennedy           
                                                          

If you’re tossing and turning for hours and the idea of a good night’s sleep is just an elusive dream, you’re not alone. A recent study revealed that a third of adult Americans feel sleep deprived. Racing thoughts, worries about work and family responsibilities keep their brain on high alert; they simply can’t relax and let go.

If you’re feeling exhausted, here are a few simple tricks to get you and your sleep patterns back on track.

Have you ruled out medical or psychological issues? Chronic pain, anxiety, stress, worry and depression all can inhibit a good night’s sleep.
                                                       
Noise and light will rob you of sleep. Any light source that’s brighter than a four watt bulb can interfere with melatonin production which is necessary for a good night's sleep. Black out shades can be effective in reducing early morning light. A “white noise” machine can help with annoying background noises.
                                                         
Finally, most sleep experts recommend banishing your pets from the bedroom. Yes, I know that's hard to do, our furry friends love to be near us.                                                  
                                                          

What do you do when you just can't sleep? (And by the way, Mr. Jingles can be adopted at UPAWS, Marquette County's no-kill shelter in MI.)

by Mary Kennedy

13 comments:

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

Mine isn't so much a "can't sleep," but a "wake up in the middle of the night," like now. I am awake at 2:00. I usually wake up somewhere between one and three in the morning and can't go back to sleep for a few hours. I'm thinking about investing in a sleep mask because to get to sleep in the beginning I have to have the TV on (I'm nyctophobic) as well as a light in the bathroom. Then, when I wake up about halfway through, the light impedes me going back to sleep, so I pin to Pinterest until I literally fall back asleep from exhaustion.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Susan, hope you can get the sleep problem under the control. You must be exhausted when you wake up in the morning. Could you try gradually reducing the amount of light in the room, until you eventually have "no light." There are a couple of behavioral strategies you could try. Progressive relaxation, creative visualization, for example. I hope you can find some relief, you need your zzz's. Thanks for stopping by.

Janet Rudolph said...

I had to banish Barclay a year or so ago. I found I was allergic to him!! It's his long hair, double coat and dander. However, in the middle of the night he starts crying outside the door and sometimes bangs against it.. all 23 pounds.. Still hoping for a good night's sleep :-)

JJM said...

My strategy is simple. I know I'm kept awake by that part of my mind that's worriting around like a squirrel in a cage with all the things that went wrong that day, or might go wrong the next. So, I need to distract that part, and I do it with noise: the spoken word. Sometimes, I just keep my local NPR station on, although there is the risk of perchance waking up for a bathroom break in the middle of an interesting story I'll keep listening to, or a distressing story I wish I hadn't heard any of. Sometimes, I put on a storytelling or a radio drama CD instead. (The episodic nature of either is essential, since I inevitably fall asleep long before the end of the album.) Either way, it's not unlike being read a bedtime story when one is a child. And it does work for me.

mary kennedy said...

Oh, no, I know exactly what you mean, Janet. I didn't realize Barclay was 23 pounds, (it's all muscle, right?). I have a few cats that size. Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

JJM, that is a fantastic strategy! I had never thought of the radio drama idea, I'll start recommending it to my clients, thanks!

Lynda said...

I have loud ringing in my ears, so total quiet is not good for me, but no way can I fall asleep with the TV on - it keeps my mind occupied, which is counter productive under normal circumstances. I have a "relaxation" application on my phone and my Kindle (they were free). You can choose whatever sound you want, and you can add one on another and another. I prefer the ocean waves, rain, birds, cat purring, wind chimes and other soft sounds. Occasionally I'll add some flute music. But they even have sounds like a vacuum cleaner (no way do I consider that relaxing!) and louder storms, but I prefer the softer sounds. I also have some light music on my Kindle - combining ocean or rain with soft music - that I use. Whatever I choose, I use it pretty much every night. When I need something that will distract me (like when I have vertigo and lay for hours), I will usually put on an audio book on my Kindle, but not one that I need to follow the plot closely (as I may sometimes doze off). So I use humor books, like Ellen Degeneres, Bob Newhart, etc. That way if I doze off, I can jump back in and still listen.

Oh, and as far as the cats - it's true that I would probably go to sleep faster without my furry friends demanding my attention - or contorting me into strange positions during the night - but they do bring me comfort, and if I put them outside the door, no one would sleep!

mary kennedy said...

Lynda, I have a Kindle but I didn't know about the free apps, that's a great idea. I've got to look into that, glad you mentioned it, thanks!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Great tips, Mary. Although I sleep like a rock, I have had insomnia in the past and it can wreck a person. These are good to remember if it comes creeping back I don't think Daisy the princess dachshund likes the last hint, although she doesn't believe in cats in the bedroom.

XO

MJ

Rachelle21 said...

I am one of those people who can fall asleep with tv and lights on. If I wake up and have trouble sleeping and do not want to take a hot bath. I might turn a tv on and put it on timer or turn on a light and read. One or the other usually makes me sleepy.

mary kennedy said...


that's a great idea about setting the TV to a timer, Rachelle. Thanks for stopping by!

mary kennedy said...

MJ, I can picture Daisy shaking her head in disapproval over cats In the bedroom! You're right about insomnia, it's awful, debilitating.

JJM said...

Radio dramas or storytelling -- you know, real storytellers who tell stories rather than reading them from books. There are so many wonderful ones out there, and you can find a lot of their CDs on Amazon and CD Baby. It's an under-appreciated art form.