Sleep and Mood

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Sleep can have a positive or negative effect on mood.  There’s no doubt about it.  If you have ever experienced parenting a newborn or pulled an all-nighter at work, you know how challenging to your mood and overall well-being that lack of sleep can effect a you.  Get a decent night’s sleep and suddenly you’re a nicer person.   During my sessions with clients, we often discuss sleep because it’s so important to overall health.

10 Habits That Can Improve Sleep

1. Decrease caffeine. I get it.  That cup (or 2 of 3) of coffee in the am gets you moving.  Go right ahead and have your morning cup of joe.  However, keep late afternoon and evening intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks) to a minimum.   Keep in mind when eating food that there’s caffeine in chocolate, coffee ice cream, and coffee-falvored yogurt as well.

2. Decrease use of electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime.  Go back to reading a good book since studies have shown that exposure to artificial light decreases production of melatonin.

3.  Establish a relaxing bedtime ritual.  This may include a warm epsom salt/lavender oil bath followed by body oil.  Or you can add few drops of lavender oil to your pillow or sheets.

4. Turn up/down the temperature of your thermostat.  For most people, the ideal sleeping temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees.

5. Watch alcohol intake. Alcohol may induce sleep, however, it disrupts the REM (rapid-eye movement) part of sleep in which dreaming and restoration occurs.

6. Supplements.  Used temporarily, Melatonin, Passion Flower, and Camomile Tea can sometimes help.  I personally have strange dreams when I’ve tried Melatonin and Passion Flower so I stay away from them.  Some studies have also shown Valernian Root and Kava (for anti-anxiety) can be helpful as well (however, there are side effects from both of these when combined with alcohol or other drugs).  My advice is to consult with your doctor before using sleep-aid supplements.

7. Eat dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime.  Our bodies need time to digest that evening meal.  Eating too much too late can lead to nighttime stomach rumblings and indigestion.

8. Exercise.  Exercise helps release stress and endorphins, and decreases body temperature.  Our bodies need sleep to recover from vigorous exercise.  Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you may have difficulty falling asleep.

9. White noise, ear plugs, and eye masks.  Get a noise maker and those high decibel ear plugs from the drug store.  They’re both well worth the investment. Eye masks can help as well.

10.  Decrease stress.  Life stressors ( losing a loved one, job loss, parenting a sick child, divorce, etc.) are sometimes hard to avoid, yet there are ways to effectively cope with those stressors.  Counseling is a healthy outlet for sharing your feelings in a safe, private, and non-judgmental environment.  Set boundaries with others.  Say “no” to some of those requests from others that you don’t want to commit your time and energy to doing.  A never-ending checklist in your brain is a surefire way to create anxiety and insomnia.

Sweet dreams. . . .

Kara

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