Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sleep Hygiene

I hate feeling helpless. Who doesn't? With Major Depressive Disorder, it is easy to sometimes feel...well...depressed about my condition. I hate feeling like I have no say over this disorder and what it does to my life. I'm constantly on the prowl for ways to help improve my life. It isn't always easy! Sometimes I really don't feel like doing anything and it can be real easy to mope around and feel sorry for myself! But there are some things that I can do that can help a little.  And these things can help anyone feel a little better every single day!!

My therapist suggested I practice some sleep hygiene as a part of my therapy.  If you search sleepy hygiene on the internet, you will see a great deal of information about the things you can do to improve your sleep. I'm going to give you my TOP 4 of the things I do that really truly help me feel more energized during the day.

#1. Rise at the same time every day.
      This isn't always easy. What's easy is sleeping in every single day. Yup, that's definitely the easy thing to do. Especially when you are used to sleeping in every day, getting up early can seem impossible. So I started slowly. I was used to getting up at 10am everyday, so the first day, I got up at  9:30.  I tried that for a week until I got 'used' to it. Then switched to 9:00 for a week. Then 8:30, 8:00, etc. I did this until I was getting up at chosen time.  For me, I want to be awake everyday by 7:00.  Seven is good because it gives me lots of time to get the boys up, dressed and off to school and daycare. It's also a good prep for when I go back to work. I will be getting up at 6:30 and there is a huge difference between 6:30 and 10am!! Yikes! 
     I know I said this before, but this part isn't easy. You really have to push yourself to get up early every day, especially if you're not used to it! But if I can do this, then you can do it, too!!

#2. I Never lie awake in bed.
     Initially, it can take me up to 30 minutes to fall asleep and I give myself this time. But during the night, if I awaken and can't fall back to sleep, I get out of bed and do something else. I do something that isn't too stimulating like read a book or do some writing.  I do NOT play video games or watch tv. I do NOT turn on the lights unless absolutely necessary. I do something for 20 minutes to half an hour; until I feel sleepy again. Then I try and go back to bed. I give myself only10-15 minutes to fall back to sleep. If I can't, then I get right back outta bed again!  My therapist suggested this idea and it truly has worked like a charm for me. I had begun to see my bed as a torture chamber. I was so used to tossing and turning all night that I associated my bed with being awake, not being asleep. Now that I never lie awake in bed, it takes no time to fall asleep initially or fall back to sleep if I wake up. Just perfect!!

#3.  I (try) to never nap during the day.
     This one was really hard, too! Sleep begets sleep (as the saying for baby goes). The more I slept in, the more tired I was and the more I wanted to nap. It was getting to the point where I was napping any day that my kids weren't here. I was hardly awake anymore!! So getting rid of the napping was difficult, to say the least. Add to this the fact that I am now waking up earlier than I'm used to, it has made for one cranky Mommy! And the therapist warned me of the crankiness. But it's just crankiness, right? Hell, I'm used to being cranky so what's the harm in a little more!  And after a few weeks, I hardly noticed the missing naps because I was sleeping so much better at night anyway.  Instead of getting all my good sleep during the day, I was getting it at night when it was better!
     This one doesn't have to be so strict. There was one week when my youngest was up all night puking. Those few days, I napped during the day because I was exhausted!  But when he got better, I went back to the not napping. And it has really helped me get some proper sleep at night.

#4. Take the TV out of your room.
    Oooh, I know!! That one can really be a crapper for some people. I was never a huge one for having a tv in my room, but my husband really liked having that tv in there so he could watch movies before bed. But Kathleen (the worlds greatest therapist) said that beds are for two things and two things only....sleeping and sex! That's it! That's all!!  So I not only took the tv out, but I stopped reading in bed as well! I read in a chair next to the bed before bed instead!

There! My Top 4 sleep hygiene suggestions to help you get some proper sleep! For me, insomnia was killing me slowly. I was miserable. And making these changes was far from simple and easy. It was damn hard!!  And I am FAR from perfect. In fact, these past two weeks or so, I have been down right miserable. I have been sleeping in til 8-8:30 at least three or four times a week! Ugh!!! But I decided to come in here and write this out as a sort of push for me! I have to get back into these great habits so that I can get some great sleep at night and be a more energized Mommy during the day!!  Especially since I only have two more weeks before I go back to work!

Love and Luck to all of you checking me out......LOL, Perverts!! 

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