According to one of the therapists I used to see that’s all that was needed to solve all of my problems in life: good sleep hygiene.
According to the ASA the following tips should help you get better, more productive sleep:
Maintain a regular sleep routine
Go to bed at the same time. Wake up at the same time. Ideally, your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.
Avoid naps if possible
Naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is so necessary for easy sleep onset.
Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep per 24-hour period. We need that amount, and we don’t need more than that.
When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night – which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep, and may lead to insomnia.
Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 5-10 minutes.
If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. Do your mind racing in the chair until you are sleepy, then return to bed. No TV or internet during these periods! That will just stimulate you more than desired.
If this happens several times during the night, that is OK. Just maintain your regular wake time, and try to avoid naps.
Don’t watch TV or read in bed.
When you watch TV or read in bed, you associate the bed with wakefulness.
The bed is reserved for two things – sleep and hanky panky.
Drink caffeinated drinks with caution
The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon.
Remember that soda and tea contain caffeine as well.
Avoid inappropriate substances that interfere with sleep
Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep.
Exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep.
Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime. Rigorous exercise circulates endorphins into the body which may cause difficulty initiating sleep.
Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom
Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Generally, a little cooler is better than a little warmer.
Turn off the TV and other extraneous noise that may disrupt sleep. Background ‘white noise’ like a fan is OK.
If your pets awaken you, keep them outside the bedroom.
Your bedroom should be dark. Turn off bright lights.
Have a comfortable mattress.
If you are a ‘clock watcher’ at night, hide the clock.
Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine
A warm bath, shower
Meditation, or quiet time
As you can see, there are quite a few tips that you can utilize. And they are great tips. And they do work. But they missed one; a big one: “don’t be manic/hypomanic”.
Here’s the thing: I don’t give a hot shit how many tips off of the ASA’s well-meaning list you utilize, if you’re in an up-swing it doesn’t matter~ at least not for me. I’m not going to sleep. And not only am I not going to sleep, I’m going to spin at night. I’m going to sort and clean and work on paperwork and write and spin some more.
Or I might just lie awake in bed with racing thoughts that are so out of control that I can’t focus on doing a damn thing so I just lie there, almost paralyzed, until the sun comes up.
Or I’ll pace. I won’t lie in bed, but I won’t be productive, either. Oh, I might think I’m being productive. Or maybe I won’t, but I’ll pace the house. I won’t be able to focus on TV or writing or reading or sorting or cleaning or anything else long enough to actually do anything, but… pace.
And this is a pattern that repeats itself throughout the day… pace, think too much, clean, sort, talk to much, think some more, stand up, sit back down on repeat until I drive myself crazy.
So, here we are: February has sprung and the days are slowly getting longer and warmer and sunnier. And here I go: slowly climbing my way up that same old hill into the chaos that can come with the spring and summer.
You know what? I’m not complaining. I don’t mind it. Hell, I actually enjoy it~ mostly. It beats the hell out of the alternative.
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