On average, people need between seven to nine hours of sleep. With all the interruptions of modern society, catching a solid block of sleep can be challenging. If you’re a parent, you are well-aware of the challenges raising children presents to good quality sleep. Unfortunately, the result of fragmented sleep is sleep deprivation.
Some people or parents try to “push through” sleep deprivation and may even learn to live with it. However, considering the detrimental effects, a clinical psychologist can help you better cope with your circumstances so you can get better quality sleep.
Sleep for Wellness
Sleep is crucial for both physiological and psychological well-being. More specifically, sleep has been shown to:
- Improve general health, including healing injuries, restoring energy, and recovering from illness.
- Improve your overall mood.
- Reduce stress, worry, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, panic attack symptoms, and urges to engage in compulsive or impulsive behavior.
- Reduce irritation and conflict within relationships, including those with children and partners. Quality sleep can help you feel more patient and think more rationally in stressful situations.
- Increase your cognitive functioning, improve memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities.
Impaired judgment and slowed reaction time are substantial consequences of being sleep deprived. They can be dangerous when you consider you may be driving your children around or multi-tasking around the home.
Even if babies, children, and other family members are sleeping well, some people experience insomnia. This condition can affect as many as one-third of all adults and may include:
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Inability to maintain sleep (waking up throughout the night).
- Waking early without returning to sleep.
General recommendations for optimizing sleep include:
- Establish a regular bedtime.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Do the same activities in the same order at the same time every night. Thus, your body and mind become conditioned to a ritual that leads to sleep.
- Take power naps during the day. However, if naps interfere with your ability to sleep at night, you may want to reconsider this. Merely lying down and resting in a quiet place for several minutes can re-energize you enough to make it through the rest of the day.
- Avoid or reduce alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and sugar as much as possible, especially from late afternoon through bedtime. These stimulants and substances affect sleep quality.
- Avoid exercise directly before bedtime.
- If you can’t sleep, avoid stimulating activities. Listen to calming music, read a book, or use relaxation and breathing exercises. Avoid doing any of these while looking at a phone, tablet, or computer screen, as the light from the screen will stimulate your brain, making it more challenging to get quality sleep.
- Avoid discussing emotionally intense or controversial topics with your partner or others before bed.
- Delay problem-solving your worries until a more appropriate time.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep on your mental health. When your worries and emotional concerns cause your brain to refuse to “turn off,” it could be time to discuss your insomnia, anxiety, or low mood with a professional. Schedule a counseling and psychotherapy appointment, like a counseling and psychotherapy appointment in Palatine, IL, for help with your sleep schedule.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into how a clinical psychologist can help with your sleep schedule.