4 Daily Rituals Proven to Relieve Insomnia

Calming bottle of aromatherapy

Almost all of us have times that we have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Others may experience restless, choppy, wakeful sleep cycles. Many of us probably tell ourselves — and others — that we have “insomnia.”

But according to clinicians, for insomnia to be considered a chronic problem, it must significantly impact our lives, and it must be present at least 3 days a week for 3 months. In fact — and unfortunately — many of us actually fit this criteria, with as much as 30% of adults experiencing intermittent insomnia, and 10% experiencing it chronically.

Many insomnia sufferers don’t seek treatment, and others find the commonly doled out treatment ideas to be unsuccessful. But sleep-deprivation is something that can impact our lives in significant ways, exacerbating our physical and mental health, as well as our ability to perform basic tasks safely and efficiently.

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How to Calm Your Mind When You Can’t Sleep

Comfortable bed with messy sheets

I’ve been a light sleeper since birth, but deep into my 20s, I’ve found myself confronting a new problem: nights spent staring at the ceiling waiting desperately for sleep. A series of big life changes — a new marriage, home, job, and puppy — turned my once-calm mind into a spinning series of worries and to-do lists.

In fact, I swore my brain grew wilder and more active after nightfall.

I’m not alone. Restless nights spent struggling to sleep are an age-old problem. The earliest cavemen probably tossed on their rocks, and even the richest among us lay exhausted (yet awake) on their 100% cotton sheets. But when a few nights of restlessness become a never-ending half-slumber, insomnia can wreak havoc on the human body — and the brain. Continue reading How to Calm Your Mind When You Can’t Sleep

The Surprising New Connection between Sleep and Mental Health

Woman with alarm clock

Sleep research is gradually establishing itself as an important field, and a recent study focusing on the relationship between insomnia and depression may have useful implications for mental health practitioners.

Insomnia is generally regarded as a core symptom of depression, but new research shows that it may actually be a cause of it. The study, which was conducted by sleep researchers at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, found that “sleep disruption is a driving factor in the occurrence of paranoia, hallucinatory experiences, and other mental health problems in young adults with an average age of 25.”

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Dear Therapist: I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep

Dear Therapist_I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep

As a chronic insomniac, I can honestly tell you that getting enough sleep is crucial for anyone, but especially for those battling mental health disorders.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User  

I want you to look back on your life and think about your mood, behavior, and interactions with other people when you’ve had less than 5 hours of sleep. You were probably irritable, highly susceptible to engaging in conflict, and slow in you thinking but quick in your reactions to unpleasant stimuli. Now, imagine being sleep deprived, while also dealing with a mental disorder. Basically, not sleeping can exacerbate any mental condition, making it significantly worse in people who have trouble sleeping as opposed to those that don’t. Continue reading Dear Therapist: I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep