Sleep is a big issue for me and most people with mental health conditions that I have spoken to. Depression, Anxiety, Elevated Moods, PTSD – all of these things are (understandably) amazing at causing insomnia.
Insomnia leads to overthinking which generally only ever makes things worse, those of us fighting off depression and anxiety end up trapped in a seemingly never ending loop. In people with bipolar disorder, lack of sleep can actually trigger hypomania or mania – I find that the less I sleep the less I think I need to sleep, my mind is wired and excited thinking about how I can renovate the house, fix the situation in Syria or start my own cooking show and sleep when you don’t ‘feel’ tired is the last thing you feel like doing. But alas, even though I feel I am being productive my body cannot sustain it and it only makes the crash back to earth later that much harder.
So, we agree that insomnia is not a good thing, but how on earth do we prevent it? Unfortunately the answers are pretty much all those pesky commonsense things that the doctors all recommend…
No screens for an hour before bedtime and definitely no screens in bed!
Psychologists everywhere say the bed should be for two things Sleep and Sex but I know that in this day and with the dawn of artificial light a big proportion of us have TVs, phones or tablets in our room and once we snuggle under the covers we tend to pull these out. Hubby and I usually go to bed at night and then watch a movie before we go to sleep, sometimes if the movie is bad enough, it can actually HELP with sleep, but on the whole, the artificial light from screens is far from restful so perhaps if you are not feeling tired or you are feeling particularly anxious try to have a further half an hour of screen-free wind down time before you commit yourself to trying to sleep. Things you could use to wind down may include:
Some other things you can do to try and improve your sleep cycle:
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