February 18, 2014

The Lost Art of Sleep

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by kellyfdennis

ImageSleep has become misunderstood in the last decade or so. Recently, with the advances in neuroscience, we are coming to the conclusion that sleep is way more important than most of us realize. Studies have shown sleep deprivation causes poor impulse control, decreased empathy, and memory impairment.

Many of us have had difficulty sleeping at one time or another. For countless others, though, regular, restful, consistent sleep is difficult to achieve. There are many reasons for sleep disturbances that I will not address in this article; however, there are some tried and true techniques that may aid you in getting to sleep faster, staying asleep longer and snoozing more consistently through the night.

One term for the healthy rituals and habits of sleep promotion is called sleep hygiene. It refers to the ways in which we can change the way we take care of ourselves during the day and before we want to fall asleep, that promote healthy sleep. There are dozens of articles written on this subject, but I want to address sleep hygiene specifically related to anxiety and stress.

One of the main reasons for difficulty in getting to sleep mentioned by the people who sit across from me in counseling is “busy mind”. They tell me that they can’t shut off their minds and sleep eludes them. One strategy I recommend for this is journaling.  Done a few hours before bed, the act of writing out your thoughts, feelings, concerns, to do lists, etc. can be very helpful in “letting go.” You can even symbolize the “closing of the book” on the thoughts and cares of the day when you close your journal for the day.

Another effective tool is visualization. After you’ve taken a soothing, warm bath, changed into comfortable jammies, and dimmed the lights in your bedroom; take a few slow deep breaths and visualize a warm, peaceful place that you’ve been or would like to go. As you breathe in, imagine the details of this place filling your mind; as you breathe out, let the tension and thoughts of the day slip away.

These are just two in a very long list of simple strategies. If you find that you need a little more help falling asleep faster and curing insomnia, try this sleep hygiene program* recommended by the National Sleep Foundation using research proven methods to help you with restful, consistent sleep.

Until next time…embrace those things in your life that lead to wellness.

 *There are some links contained in my blog and website that I may benefit from financially. If you purchase a product or service upon following one of my links, I may receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting me!

2 Comments »

  1. Tracey R said,

    really like the anxiety release portion of the sleep hygiene program!

    • kellyfdennis said,

      Great, I like the targeting of decreasing anxiety and increasing relaxation that this program emphasizes.


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stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see

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