As you may already know, receiving enough sleep is one of the building blocks to maintaining a healthy body and mind. In today’s world, there are unlimited roadblocks that can get in the way of receiving the amount of sleep that is right for us, such as technology, busy schedules, to active minds. Luckily, there are many factors within our control that can dramatically improve our sleep!
For starters, it’s important to know that the development of insomnia is a three-stage process. First, some of us are predisposed to developing insomnia. This can happen if we have first-degree relatives with sleep concerns or if we grew up in a chaotic household. Next, are precipitating factors. This can be a significant life event, such as a divorce, career change, or anything notable in our lives that sets the insomnia in motion. Lastly, are the maintaining factors, or behavioral strategies we implement in order to try to improve our sleep. Ironically, the strategies we might use to get better sleep can actually maintain insomnia and poor sleep in the long-run.
The good news is that the maintaining factors are fully within our grasp to change and can be addressed in therapy over the course of just several weeks. No matter how long you’ve been struggling with insomnia, rapid results in improving the quality of your sleep are attainable. A good place to start is to refrain from the use of electronics and TV-watching at least one hour before attempting to sleep. The light from these devices sends signals to your brain that it is time to wake up, which is the last thing we want if we are struggling to sleep. That being said you, can also use light as your friend, letting it wake you up at a decent time in the morning. Waking up to natural light helps you feel refreshed and can even boost your overall mood. Stay tuned for additional tips, strategies, and information regarding how to get your best sleep.
Sylvia Gindy, Psy.D.