Get Some Sleep! 5 Tips for Busting Through Your Insomnia

If you find yourself struggling to fall or stay asleep, you’re not alone. Insomnia, the chronic inability to get sufficient sleep, is a common problem affecting millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 study, more than a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on a daily basis.

Nightmares and insomnia are also extremely common after experiencing a sexual assault. If you have PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, your body will have an excess of adrenaline making it difficult to feel safe enough for sleep. Even without PTSD, the shame, anxiety, and depression that often comes after a sexual trauma can impact sleep in a major way.

With a lack of sleep at the root of serious medical conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease, getting a decent amount of sleep on a regular basis is crucial to a long and healthy life. Getting enough sleep can also impact your body/mind’s ability to heal making sleep a critical factor in healing from sexual trauma. Here are five things you can do to change your routine and start getting to, and staying, asleep.

1. Just Two Things in Bed
Make sure that your bed is used only for two things: sex and sleep. By using your bed almost exclusively for sleep, your body will associate your bed with rest and relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep.

This means, also, that if you wake up during the night, try to avoid laying in bed for long periods of time. If you haven’t been able to go to sleep (or go back to sleep) within 15-20 minutes, get up. Do something quiet and screen-free like reading or meditation or some stretches outside of the bed, then try again. If you stay in bed too long while trying to go to sleep, you can actually end up training your brain to be awake while in bed!

2. Exercise Regularly
Getting regular exercise (the recommended thirty minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate/high intensity like weights/cardio or one hour of low intensity like walking) will help you promote healthy sleep habits. Your post-exercise temperature may promote falling asleep, and exercise in general will help eliminate insomnia by decreasing arousal and anxiety.

3. Naps, Caffeine, & Alcohol
Short naps are helpful for some, but for others it impacts their ability to fall asleep. If you’re struggling with insomnia, avoid naps during the day. Caffeine, a known stimulant, may keep you up longer than you’re aware. You may need to avoid caffeine entirely if it prevents you from falling asleep. And, while alcohol is a sedative, it can disrupt your sleep; so if you have trouble staying asleep, avoid alcohol.

4. No Screens Before Bedtime
Screen time, such as computers, smart phones and television, prevent you from falling asleep due to cognitive stimulation. Too much light at bedtime affects your melatonin production, giving your body the impression that its staying awake, not ready for sleep. Help your body get ready for sleep by eliminating screen time at least two hours before bed.

5. Create a Nighttime Routine
Creating a regular nighttime routine will help your body get into the habit of winding down and relaxing as it prepares for sleep. Create a nighttime routine an hour or two before bed. Maybe have a glass of warm milk, brush your teeth, change into your pajamas and read a book every night before bed. Make sure you go to bed around the same time every night too, including weekends.

Changing old habits and establishing a new routine is never easy. But as you make changes and sustain new practices, it will get easier. Before long you’ll have a new set of healthy habits, and you can finally settle in for a good night’s sleep.

Are you struggling with insomnia after a sexual trauma and need help maintaining healthy sleep habits? A licensed professional can help. Call our office today and let’s schedule an appointment to talk.

Speak Your Mind

*



1101 Satellite View #501
Round Rock, TX 78665

hello@hopeforthejourney.org
512-400-4790

Got Questions?
Send a Message!