The American Occupational Therapy Association dedicated an entire issue to sleep. Rightfully so, it usually takes up a third of our day, if you’re lucky. Within the article, it is cited that 10-15% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia and 5% suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Those statistics are alarming – there are a lot of sleep-deprived people driving, working and attempting to function in everyday life. Certainly good habits around sleep are important but sometimes that is easier said than done.
- Make sure the bedroom is a restful place. Have inviting comfortable linens, a heavy blanket, your favorite pillows.
- Avoid stimulants or exercising 2 hours before bed. But do be sure to include exercise daily to help establish an appropriate sleep rhythm.
- Establish a consistent nighttime routine and make sure the bedroom is only for sleep and intimate moments (that translates as… no TV, no iPhone!)
This last week, I had my own sleep interruptions. Monday at 6:10 AM, I was awoken by a hungry cat. On Thursday at 4:15 AM, I was awoken by a loud, snoring boyfriend. Saturday, I had visitors and therefore was sleeping on the couch, tossing and turning and fighting with blankets.
Even the best routines can be disrupted by unforeseen situations. If that does happen (or when it happens) and that state of grogginess and low arousal becomes the full day, focus on some strategies that work for you to make the day better.
My recent list has been working lately:
- Taking a time out at my desk. Keep my feet flat on the floor, sit back against my chair and sit as tall as possible. I rest my forearms on the edge of the table then rest my head on my forearms. I visualize things going a little better next.
- Go outside for a few minutes. Our brains aren’t fooled by pictures of trees and mountains hung on beige walls. A lot of times, this means sending out a piece of mail or getting tea at the local bakery.
- Send myself flowers.
What works for you on those less than 8-hours of sleep days?
This is what is working for us: