Not sleeping for long periods of time is extremely dangerous for physical and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can lead to accidents, make you more likely to get sick, and is one of the primary reasons for emotional crisis, mania, or psychosis.
This article was created to aid in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
What is good sleep?[edit | edit source]
Everyone is different in how much sleep they need, and it changes with changing life situations. Most adults need 7-8 hours a night. Teens need around 9 hours, children up to 3 years 14-16 hours. 50yrs or older may need 6 hours or less. The best sleep happens when we get to bed early and allow our bodies to go through deep sleep, including dreams. Interrupted sleep or waking up tired indicate sleep difficulties.
What interferes with good sleep?[edit | edit source]
- Stress, anxiety, and trauma.
- Caffeine, especially after 2pm. Caffeine isn't just in coffee. Green and black tea contain caffeine, as do chocolate, energy drinks, and some cold and headache medicines.
- Medication side effects. Read labels carefully.
- Poor nutrition or lack of food. You might also have food allergies that interfere with sleeping.
- Alcohol, especially 2hrs before bedtime, can disrupt deep sleep.
- Sugar, corn syrup, and sweetners.
- Heavy meals right before bedtime.
What helps people get to sleep?[edit | edit source]
Routine is important. Try to go to bed at night and rise in the morning at regular times.
Don't read or watch tv in bed. Train yor body to associate your bed with sleep. If you are having a hard time, get out of bed. Turn on a light and read, or watch a movie for a half an hour or so before trying to sleep in bed.
Meditation can help to relax. One method is to concentrate on watching your breath rise and fall in your belly, notice when you are distracted by thoughts, and then return to your breath.
If you missed sleep, take a short daytime nap.
Keep your bedroom dark and a comfortable temperature.
Use earplugs if your bedroom is loud and distracting. If you are used to background noise, turn on some music or a fan with a towel over it.
Deep, slow breathing from the belly can help-- don't push or use effort, breathe naturally but deeply.
Nightmares, sometimes caused by trauma, can prevent deep sleep. Talk about the dream as soon as you awake to reaffirm what is real and what is not. If another person is not available, writing it down may help get it out of your head.
Acupuncture, including NADA ear treatment, is very effective for many people, including people in manic states or with extreme sleep deprivation. Find a practitioner in your area.
Simple yoga stretches, a bath, or massage will help. Visualize progressively releasing tension in each part of your body, starting with your feet all the way up to your head: "My toes are relaxing... my feet are relaxing... my ankles are relaxing..."
Herbal teas (such as chamomile and oat straw) can help, as can bananas, melatonin, passion-fruit extract, and fish oil. Valerian is an herbal sedative but toxic at high doses. Homeopathic remedies also help. An herbalist can guide you on what to try.
Sleeping too much can be a sign of depression, malnutrition, medication side effect, or physical illness.
Doctors prescribe benzodiazapenes such as Xanax, Valium, and Atavan for sleep. These drugs can help in the short term, but are extremely addictive and in the long term can make sleep problems worse. Use them with great care, or find alternatives.
Physically exhausting yourself through exercise will help you get to sleep. Exercising 3-5 times a week will help your body expend excess energy and feel tired.