Attaining a good night sleep is crucial, not only to your physical well being, but to your mental health. Sleep allows the brain to recharge and the body to rest. When we don’t get enough sleep our perceptions, mood and attitude can be affected throughout the day. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and WGBH Educational Foundation, sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory and judgment.
Sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of factors including certain prescribed medications, chronic pain, clinical depression and anxiety, and eating and drinking habits, like too much water after 7 pm. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, those with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke often have difficulty sleeping,.
Being in recovery can be stressful. Those in a rehab may lie awake in bed thinking about addiction, worrying how their family is getting along without them, and how they are going to fair after they are discharged.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can prevent or delay sleep. RLS is a disorder whereby an unpleasant tickling or aching sensation in the leg muscles occur while sitting or lying down. These sensations are only remedied by moving or jerking the legs. A 2013 study, headed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found high levels of glutamate in people with RLS. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter involved in arousal.
Stress is a double-edged sword when it comes to sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate a person’s stress level, and stress can be a deterrent for sleep. When a person tries to fall asleep, the stress of the day may keep playing round and round in their minds. They can’t get off the cycle. This is because stress sends your brain into overdrive.
There are a number of avenues to explore that can help promote good sleep. Take a 20 minute walk at least once a day. Get into therapy. Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night. Avoiding playing computer games or exercising before bed. Create a comfortable sleeping environment without a television. Practice deep breathing exercises. You also have the option to look into a what a sleep specialist.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”—Thomas Dekker
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