We Like Routine
It is highly recommended that you get on a regular program when it comes to getting ready for bed. Getting ready for bed has to become a habit. Conducting the same actions every night, seven days a week helps us to get tired or feel awake at regular times of the day. Our bodies like consistency when it comes to rest time and getting into sleep mode takes some practice if you are someone that has difficulty getting to sleep. I will mention a few things in this write up that may help you out.
Vet to Vet
I am a combat Veteran and have had to battle to get to sleep due to ongoing bouts with PTSD and depression. I still struggle at times, but there are things that I do every night that really help me. I know what its like to have very disturbing, bloody and violent nightmares. I would find myself waking on the hour and my sheets would be drenched with sweat. Just to give you an idea, I once changed my sheets three times in one night.
I have developed a sleep regimen for myself as bedtime approaches. I also go to bed at about the same time every night. (I say this loosely…I do the best I can to be consistent.) I would not call my routine anything special, but I have found that I have experienced much better sleep over the last couple of years. Let me share a few things that I MUST NOT do at least 2 to 3 hours before bed. Trust me when I say I have definitely pushed my limits and have tried to test the waters, but every time I test them, I find myself going back to my regimen. Here are a few things all of us MUST NOT DO leading up to bedtime.
Your Enemies When it Comes to Sleep
No scary or violent movies, or war movies, no matter what era.
No intense working out
No checking computer
No having big, meaningful and deep conversations right before bed
No phone calls
No going to bed starving or going to bed too full on food
No naptime after 1400 during the day
If possible, do not sleep with pets or kids in the bed
Routine and your Nervous System
These are just a few things I promise myself I will NOT do directly before I lay down. Keep in mind that there may be some foods that are difficult for your body to process as well and that may keep you up and trying to digest. The object is to get your nervous system, which is a physical and hard working system that resides in your body, to slow down and not stay at the high state of arousal it has been at all day. Its obvious that your nervous system lives in your body, but I highlight that to bring awareness to the following fact. The way we feel, whether it be depressed, happy, sad, silly, or angry is something that comes from our bodies. When we feel one affect or feeling all the time it WILL effect our body and health. If we feel anxious all the time our muscles are going to be tight, knotted up and our heart rates will stay at a constant high rate. This can cause heart, muscle, abdominal and gastrointestinal problems that can really be painful…just to name a few. Many people do not understand how emotions dictate how well our bodies function or do not function. Depending on how high your arousal state, your coming down time may be harder to achieve and may take much discipline and possibly more time. Folks really struggling with mental health anxiety disorders like PTSD may have to work hard to get to sleep and start their sleep routine earlier in the evening to achieve restful sleep. This is okay, because it will not be like this forever, as long as you adhering to a sleep routine, creating some stability in your wake and sleep cycle and are working through any mental health disorders that may be bothering you. There must be a way that your body learns to release the trauma and people need help in achieving this from experts that know how. Please write back if you want more information in this regard. I would be glad to address questions and help out in any way possible.
Please visit www.warriorsliveon.org and contact me at info.warriorsliveon.org.