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E-Quipped to... Interrupt Insomnia
This newsletter refers to ‘Insomnia’ a comprehensive article found on my website and ‘Can’t Sleep? Non-Pharmaceutical Options for Treating Insomnia During Recovery’ on the Recovery.org website.
If you were wide awake you would have known that the 14th March was World Sleep Day, but I am pretty sure that most of you were fast asleep to that fact! How can I be sure? Because, although we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, most people pay no attention to sleep and its impact on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Most people do not even consider that something as ‘simple’ as sleep deprivation could be the cause of so many physical and mental problems. Did you know, for example, that insomnia is often a predictor for relapse amongst alcoholics? Probably not!
It is vital that we understand sleep and address our sleep disturbances.
Image by: Mislav Marohnić
The Impact of Insomnia on our General Health
Insomnia can significantly affect the quality of your life. Consequences of not getting enough sleep include:
For more consequences read: Insomnia
The Impact of Insomnia on Alcoholism
According to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost 75 percent of recovering alcoholics reported sleep problems immediately following detox. Often, the insomnia lasted only about five weeks, but for others insomnia was still a problem after six months of abstinence.
Unfortunately, insomnia is often a predictor of relapse. A NIH study on “Treatment Options for Sleep Disturbance During Alcohol Recovery,” published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, 2007, reported that after five months of abstinence, people in treatment for alcohol use disorders who were still reporting disturbed sleep were approximately twice as likely to have relapsed than those whose sleep had normalized. So obviously, treating insomnia during recovery is vital.
For More information Read: Can’t Sleep? Non-Pharmaceutical Options for Treating Insomnia During Recovery
The Substance Abuse & Insomnia Cycle
Stimulants, such as cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA etc. produce a feeling of wakefulness and increased energy and so disrupt sleep. But sooner or later your body cries out for rest. Normal sleep is not likely to be forthcoming, however, if you have an altered circadian cycle due to your substance use. A vicious cycle can then result when one attempts to deal with stimulant drug-related insomnia by using depressant-type drugs or alcohol. Studies show that up to 28 percent of adults experiencing frequent insomnia use alcohol to help them fall asleep. Unfortunately, once a substance abuse-insomnia cycle becomes established, it is very difficult to break. It is more effective to treat insomnia by establishing good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene refers to the principles of behaviour and the techniques you need to develop to ensure you get a good night's sleep and wake up feeling great. These principles apply to all of us, and if you make them into habits you will be amazed at how much better you will sleep. The principles include:
Set a Regular Bedtime and Wake-up Time. Create a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on days off and weekends. This helps anchor your body clock to these times. Resisting the urge for a lie-in can pay dividends in alertness.
Try to avoid alarm clocks. If you need an alarm clock to wake you up every day you are not going to bed early enough.
Avoid alcohol within 4 – 6 hours of bedtime.
Avoid Stimulants within 3 – 4 hours of bedtime. Stimulants include caffeine, nicotine and some prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Exercise Regularly – but not before bed. Regular, moderate exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. Just be careful not to do it close to bedtime as exercise produces stimulants that stop the brain from relaxing quickly. You should avoid exercise within 4 – 6 hours of bedtime.
Set Electronic Devices to 'Reduced Light' at Night. Bright light emitted from devices such as TV, laptops, tablets, phones etc. suppresses our normal night-time release of Melatonin which in turn can delay sleep. You can do a lot to help by switching to white text on a black screen at night to minimize the light dose. You can also turn down the brightness of your screens at night - there are free apps that can do that for you - or switch back to good old-fashioned books!
For all 10 principles of good sleep hygiene read my article: Insomnia
What do YOU Think?
Share your wisdom with others… What tips do you have to interrupt insomnia?
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About These Newsletters
You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Durban, South Africa.
My goal is to inspire you to make the changes necessary to live the life of your dreams! I believe that by developing your YOU-Q - the term I have created to describe your unique intelligence, creativity and wisdom - you can find your Inner winner and live a Be-YOU-tiful life right now.
On my website you'll find more ideas to get you thinking about life, love, work and other important STUFF.
Contact me for more information or visit the website:
+27 82 491 1136
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