Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A healthy person needs seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Many people in today’s fast paced world sacrifice sleep not realizing this can impact their health. Loss of sleep or “sleep debt” is a factor in a third of all accidents. It affects productivity on the job, our frustration levels, and lowers our immune system. There are significant sleep disorders such as sleep apnea that interrupt sleep. Anyone with extreme fatigue or chronic insomnia should see their doctor to rule out physical causes.
To overcome insomnia do the following.
1. Go to bed at the same time every evening. Spend the last hour before bedtime relaxing. If you watch TV, watch calming or funny programs rather than exciting or scary ones.
2. Gradually eliminate caffeine from your diet. Do it gradually or you may get a headache from withdrawing too fast.
3. Cut out alcoholic beverages after 6 or 7 p.m. Alcohol initially relaxes a person but one or two hours later it acts as a stimulant.
4. Exercise during the day so your body is tired. A 20 minute walk will do wonders.
5. A glass of milk or a calcium pill at bed time will relax you.
6. Don't go to bed angry. Talk out the problem if you can. If not, write about your anger and let go of it.
7. If you're keyed up about tomorrow's activities talk or write about it before you go to bed.
8. Anger, hurt or sadness accumulated through the day often wake us at night. Use awake times to express your feelings in tears, in prayer or in journaling.
9. Change the way you think about awake times. Think of insomnia as an opportunity! Learn to enjoy the silence and quiet in the middle of the night. This can be a peaceful time to meditate and to commune with God.
10. Give yourself permission to sleep late. Sleeping late does not mean you’re lazy. You may have trained yourself to ignore your sleep debt.
To learn more about handling insomnia read The Promise of Sleep by William Dement, MD and Insomnia: God’s Night School by Connie Soth.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1