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How to Improve your Sleep

I work with many clients who experience sleep difficulties due to their current stress levels, anxiety or depression. We discuss in counseling the importance of good sleep hygiene. Some people report difficulty falling asleep; others tell me about waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back to sleep. Other clients just report feeling tired even after sleeping at night. I think it's always important to talk to your doctor about your sleep difficulties in case there is something medical going on. But outside of those issues, there are some things you can do to help yourself sleep better. I've discussed in previous blog posts about taking time to rest, getting proper exercise and nutrition, the importance of sleep, and how slowing your pace of life can help lead to better mental health. Sleep is such an important piece of managing stress, anxiety and depression; without sleep it is very difficult to do those things well! Today I found a great article on ways to start sleeping better and wanted to share! It gives several (12 actually) practical steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene. I highly recommend trying some, or all, of these! I have already picked out a couple I'm going to add to my sleep hygiene! I just tried tip #6 and got out of the office for a sun break - though there were more clouds than sun, I enjoyed my time outside and do feel a bit rejuvenated! Try some of these tips for improving your quality of sleep. 

Sleep is Important!

Getting a good night's rest on a regular basis is so important to good mental health. Our bodies need that time to rejuvenate, heal and recover. Having a regular bed time and wake time is important to managing anxiety, stress and depression effectively. We are putting ourselves at a disadvantage when we get varying amounts of sleep each night. Getting on average 8 hours of sleep per night is important to a stable mood. In talking with clients I'm seeing for counseling, I encourage them to have a bed time around the same time every night (within an hour) and a regular wake time each morning too (again, within an hour). Some people require more or less amounts of sleep than others. I know clients who function well on 7 hours of sleep per night; I also have clients though that need 9 hours of sleep to be at their best each day. The important piece here is figuring out what your body needs and then making sure to provide that for yourself on a regular basis. If you are a night owl who functions well on 8 hours of sleep, you could set your bed time for midnight and your wake time for 8am. Don't sleep in much past 9am and don't go to sleep much past 1am. Otherwise, you are basically putting your body through jet lag! Having a daily routine like this of getting up and going to bed around the same time each day can greatly help to stabilize mood, as well as manage stress and anxiety.