What Do You Do When You Can’t Sleep?

It’s almost 6am and I’m blogging! This is not unusual for me although lately I’ve been sleeping better. However, not tonight!  Actually, I’ve been up for a few hours. I was tossing and turning in bed and finally gave up. Many of my friends and patients report difficulty sleeping. If you get on Facebook in the wee hours you’ll find people posting. Maybe we’re just all too wound up with our busy lives.

I always encourage people to keep regular hours with sleep. That means going to sleep and waking about the same time each day and getting roughly 8 hours of sleep each night. Other things I suggest are:

  1. Do something relaxing as you wind down for bed.
  2. Make sure all lights, even alarm clock lights are covered or off.
  3. Get some exercise during the day.
  4. Don’t eat too late or close to bedtime. Don’t be hungry either.
  5. Make lists if you have things on your mind or are feeling overwhelmed.
  6. Keep a pad and pen next to your bed and journal any feelings or thoughts that you can’t get out of your head.
  7. Only use your bedroom for sleep.
  8. Clear out the clutter in your bedroom.
  9. Don’t watch anything too exciting on television before bed.
  10. The obvious, read a book.
  11. Meditate, do yoga.

Mostly however, I tell people, unless falling and staying asleep are a chronic problem, just get up and do something. Don’t lie there, be productive. You can wash your clothes, catch up on work, or clean the house! You’ll probably get tired after that. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you’re not sleeping. I suggest that you simply go with it and before long you’ll be back to a good night’s sleep. Everything cycles, so don’t fight a lack of sleep once in a while. And, check out Facebook in the middle of the night. You’re friends may be having difficulty sleeping too and would love to talk to you!

About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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