The past couple of weeks have been extremely traumatic for many people. As Harvey has devastated so many people, it may have also have wreaked havoc on their sleep. As millions of Texans take steps on the road to recovery, it’s important to not forget about the importance of good sleep. Forgoing sleep has been shown to negatively impact decision-making, energy, productivity and health. So here are six tips to keep in mind to help improve your sleep.
1. Get back to a normal routine. Routine is important both during the day and night. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and consistent rise time, regardless of how you slept.
2. Go to bed when sleepy. There are only so many hours in the day and there might be pressure to try to squeeze more in by staying up later. However, getting adequate sleep is essential for your health and will help alleviate stress. The National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy adults get seven to nine hours of sleep.
3. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you get sleepy. We cannot force sleep. Ironically, the more you “try” to sleep, the worse it becomes. Try listening to music, reading, or praying/meditating until you feel sleepy. If watching television, be sure to limit how much disaster coverage you watch.
4. Spend 30 to 60 minutes unwinding before bed. Sleep is not a light switch that can be turned on and off. It is important to spend time relaxing quietly before getting into bed.
5. Shut off the chatter in your brain at night. Often nighttime is the only period of quiet, distraction-free time to reflect or worry. You may be worrying about repairing your home, your loved ones, or preparing for the next potential storm. Instead of worrying at night, try scheduling 10 to 20 minutes during your day (not too close to bedtime) to sit down, distraction-free and jot down your worries and potential solutions. At night, remind yourself this is not the time or place to worry.
6. Take care of your emotional well-being. Talk to friends and family or write what you experienced. Another way to alleviate stress and improve sleep is to try calming relaxation techniques like slow, deep breathing or meditation. Try breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding for a count of seven, and breathing out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Do this 10 times every day.
Finally, don’t forget about your kids. Talk to them about the hurricane during the day (in age appropriate language) in order to help them process what has happened. Maintain a consistent routine prior to bed (e.g., bath, reading) and a consistent bedtime. Power down electronics an hour before bed, and allow enough time to obtain an adequate amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends preschoolers get 10 to 13 hours, school-aged children get 9 to 11 hours, and teenagers get 8 to 10 hours’ sleep per night.
Sara Nowakowski is a clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine.
Baylor College of Medicine will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. https://t.co/6CNQMhyJ92
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Baylor College of Medicine will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day.
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#TAMHSC researchers are working to solve #diabetes-related blindness: https://t.co/D1Pi8CaD0H #Health
#Melanoma survivor explains how #immunotherapy #clinicaltrial and @DrSapnaPatel gave her hope. #CancerMoonShot #endcancer https://t.co/gxr9MaYsHi
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Leticia Rousseve found comfort whenever she verbalized her frustrations and feelings to others who understood what she was going through as a caregiver for her husband, James, during his soft tissue sarcoma treatment. “This taught me an important lesson that I now share with others going through cancer: you are not alone.” Now, she pays it forward by volunteering with myCancerConnection, MD Anderson’s one-on-one cancer support community of patients, survivors and caregivers who have been there. #endcancer
At sprawling VA hospital in southern Dallas, a righteous battle to keep the promise to care for America's Veterans https://t.co/yBX7Jqyn6X via @dallasnews
6.1, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Join @MethodistHosp Cancer Center at St. John for a celebration and luncheon as we honor those living with a history of cancer. Register today: https://t.co/epZbgu9fA0 https://t.co/FLv19JSQs0
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is @USArmy Veteran M. Ross Kirk. https://t.co/Z1oqPWmWig
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran M. Ross Kirk. Ross served for 28 years and retired in 1988. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Ross served two tours in Vietnam with the 4/39th Infantry Battalion, the 9th Infantry Division and the 5th Special Forces Group with the Chaplain Corps. He was also a member of the 101st Airborne Division, the 18th Airborne Corps 1st Division, and the Green Beret Parachute Demonstration Team. He wore the Green Beret on active duty for nine years and is nicknamed the “Leapin’ Deacon” due to his 225 military jumps, including 50 HALO (high altitude, low opening) jumps and 450 sport parachute jumps. Ross’ positions in the Army included Command Chaplain for the Special Operations Command (Airborne) and Senior Chaplain of the Combined Peacekeeping Forces in the liberation of Grenada. He retired at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1988 and has lived with his wife Judy in Wakefield, Kansas for 27 years. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ross was awarded four Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He also earned the Ranger Tab, the Special Forces Tab and Master Parachutist and Air Assault Badges. Thank you for your service, Ross!
New @USDOT program provides free pilot training for Veterans https://t.co/z6mIJVPMlU via @Militarydotcom
New research funded by Department of Defense grants will look into why some women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer develop resistance to endocrine therapies. https://t.co/TMhNyXWZ8Y
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Congratulations to M.D/Ph.D. student Muhammad Saad Shamim on becoming a 2018 fellow of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program.
#Chemobrain is real. Learn more about this common #cancer treatment side effect: https://t.co/86Kcj2AzFy #endcancer https://t.co/iH7IP2dIUv
What you need to know about #prostatecancer screening: https://t.co/Sbt5pA5B0J @oncolognews #endcancer
Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale talks about her journey with obsessive compulsive disorder. https://t.co/SxpIBc1gyA #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth