If you can’t seem to get to sleep at night, thoughts won’t stop racing through your head or you can’t stay asleep if you do finally fall asleep; you are probably dealing with a sleep disorder. This goes beyond the occasional inability to get a good nights sleep. This can go on for days, weeks, months, even years. I should know, I’ve been dealing with a sleep disorder for the past 3 years. But there is hope, and there are ways of helping yourself get back to your normal sleep routine. Here are some of the best ways I’ve found for dealing with a sleep disorder.
See your doctor. If it’s been a couple of weeks and your sleeplessness is not letting up, go see your doctor. It many cases a sleep disorder is an underlying symptom of another more serious condition. For me, it turned into a chronic pain condition which took nearly 4 years to accurately diagnose. There may be medications that can help immediately (prescription and over-the-counter). Have an open and honest conversation about what is going on in your life so your doctor can get you on the right path.
Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is not your typical therapy. If there are other stressors or health issues going on, a therapist trained in CBT can help walk you through the steps you can actively take to learn to deal with what is going on. Help you learn to deal with your stress in a more positive way, and accept your own limitations without feeling like you’re failing in some part of your life.
Be an active participant in your own healthcare. This is a big one. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and let a doctor do everything for you. You MUST take an active role here. There are things you can do every day to help yourself in learning to deal with your sleep disorder:
1) Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. Discuss with your doctor or a nutritionist on the best plan for you.
2) Stick to the same schedule every day. Get up at the same time (even on weekends) and go to bed at the same time. The worst thing we can do for ourselves when dealing with a sleep disorder is constantly changing our internal clocks.
3) Have an evening bed time routine. Have a cool down period before bed, drink a cup of warm chamomile tea, take a leisurely walk, meditate. Just something that is going to allow you to let go of your day and calm your mind and body.
If you follow these steps you will most likely see a significant change in your sleep disorder. Even if this is a symptom of a larger issue, as is my situation, you will be taking steps to actively improve your overall health both physically and mentally. It may be a long-term plan, but every little step you take will help get you onto the path of health.