How To Sleep Well -- By Sharon Burch
When it comes to brain function, even brief periods of sleep loss matter. For example, after just one night of sleep deprivation, we can experience increased activation in the amygdala, an emotional hub of the brain. This helps explain the growing link between a lack of sleep and increased emotional reactivity.
In addition, sleep deprivation appears to damage our ability to recognize other people’s emotional states. Combining these findings, it’s easy to see why sleep is so important for our interpersonal connections.
Beyond quelling emotional reactivity, sleep can help us make better choices around foods. A recent review compared the eating habits of people getting a full night’s rest to those who were sleep-deprived. On average, they found that those getting insufficient sleep were eating 385 more calories a day without burning any extra energy.
Limit your blue light consumption in the hours before bed. Blue light can block the production of the hormone melatonin, which is necessary for good sleep.
Limit or stop consuming caffeine after 2 p.m.
Avoid unnecessary sources of stress before bed, as stress can make it tough to fall asleep (yes, this may mean cutting the news out of your evening routine).
Create and stick to a sleep routine that helps you relax before bed. For example, you could try a hot shower, a mellow read, or listening to calming music.
If you try these approaches and are still having trouble sleeping, help is available through the Atma Clinic: www.AtmaClinic.com/services.
Sharon Burch, APRN NP, provides holistic mental health and wellness counseling and other services through Atma Clinic.