It’s true: I’m a reformed bad sleeper. And I’m going to share 3 common sleep problems (and solutions) you won’t likely hear a doctor mention; before we get to that, some sleep facts.
According to the Center For Disease Control, 50-70 million American Adults suffer with sleep disorders just like I used to. Without sleep, the body becomes susceptible to illness, especially the heart—sleep deprivation can lead to heart attack and heart failure. Sleep deprivation has even been linked to some of the biggest disasters in history.
Some of the body’s essential restorative functions only happen during sleep: studies show hormone function and tissue repair are drastically affected by lack of sleep. When we speak of “beauty sleep” we really are seeing results of tissue healing and a re-balancing of both hydration and hormones, all of which play huge roles in fresh-looking and healthy skin.
Dazed With A Size of Eczema
I have been plagued with sleeping problems throughout most of my adult life. The impact it’s had on my psyche and skin have at times been intense. I developed eczema which, during flare-ups, causes my scalp to burn and itch intensely. I have had days (after 2 or 3 nights of sleeplessness) that I have not been able to work. Answering an email could take an entire day because I was just dazed and unable to complete a sentence. Known as the bright eyed, energetic funny girl, it was obvious to my friends and employers when I was going through a bout of insomnia. I would show up to work looking like I had partied all night, swollen-eyed and sullen, trying desperately to stay awake during a mid-day crash but then awake again that same night.
The Decision To Change: This Has To Stop
After years of tossing and turning, book after book on sleeping, and sleep med after sleep med, my doctor suggested—insisted, really—that I go to a sleep clinic. You’ve seen the ones where you are hooked up to all kinds of wires and people watch you “not” sleep. Something about this scared me to death. I wouldn’t go. So I did something really radical: I decided I didn’t have a sleeping problem. After many months of intense therapy after a break-up, I had been using my mind and the power of my thoughts to heal my heart. I was using that power to be happy again and I used it to convince myself that as a living creature, I required sleep and it was going to happen.
Here are the 3 things that helped me sleep:
You’re in a bad relationship with your bedroom. There is a reason Arriana Huffington believes the sleep revolution starts at home.
It might sound corny, but if you get stressed as you walk into your room, you’ve already set the tone for a restless night. If you’ve always “hated that paint color” or have been meaning to clear that clutter, do it.
Don’t walk in your bedroom until you give yourself an attitude adjustment. Try creating a mantra (like, really) to say out loud. Try something like, “I am a living creature. I sleep when I need to. I am in my sanctuary. This is my place of solace. I am blessed with a warm bed and shelter.” Also, create a bedroom that you love to look at. Repaint, get a new blanket and for the love of all that’s holy: clear off clutter. Clutter creates noise in our brains. It’s ok to love all of your tchotchkes: put them in your closet to look at when the mood hits you.
You’re a Chatty Cathy.
My parents called me “Chatty Cathy” growing up (they also called me Zelda Gluckmeyer, but that’s another story) because, well, I like to talk. But late night texts and conversations stimulate your brain, and I was left awake, twiddling my thumbs long after everyone else had fallen asleep.
Don’t keep your phone next to your bed at night. Anything you need to know can wait until you wake up. Plug your phone in across the room so there’s no temptation to check your Facebook or texts, etc. Request that your partner or roommate not engage you in serious conversations at night. Quiet the mind by being quiet.
You’re a late-night nibbler.
Why does food taste better late at night while you’re watching your favorite show? If you’re like pre-sleep me, you love a naughty nosh while Roku-ing into oblivion and will grab just about anything.
Make an eating cut-off time and stick to it. Late night noshing can cause acid-reflux. Try sipping on some Sleepytime or chamomile tea instead. Remind yourself that you’ll regret that snack when you’re still up at 3am.
Celebrity medical aesthetician Nurse Jamie developed this special pillow to prevent wrinkles while sleeping. Plus, fitness expert Anna Kaiser also believes sleep is of utmost importance. Learn what else she thinks will keep you in the best shape.
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