Tired, But Can’t Sleep? Learn to Turn the Thoughts Off.

Cathi Cohen, LCSW

Sleep deprivation in teens has been linked to depression, anxiety, moodiness, and other mental disorders.

As we all know, sleep is essential. It affects our mood, anxiety level, stress, weight, and energy. Just like eating and breathing, sleep is natural and should be treated as equally important. Without proper sleep, we are on track for disease, emotional distress and a general lack of well-being.

If you can’t sleep because you are stressed, taking time to address the issues at root is critical. Getting your zzz’s in, can help you function and allow for your mind and body to recharge. It basically works like this: when we sleep, our bodies and minds recharge, we process our days, lives and experiences. It allows us to analyze the positive and negative and let our subconscious play with feelings and symbols. The dreams that we have while we sleep can guide us to our stressors.

If you are only getting minimal sleep, then our bodies and minds never feel as they stopped to take a break. We all need breaks, and the more aware you are of what’s going on in your life, the easier it will be to take steps in the right direction to change it.

Step 1: Write down what’s stressing you out.

Make a list of everything that is bothering you. Next write out possible solutions to this problem that you are having. Placing these problems on paper allows a release of the mind and for you to concentrate on sleep.

Step 2: Turn off your technology.

This disrupts sleeping patterns! Have at least 30 minutes of time to yourself before bed. You can read, write, and listen to music.

Step 3: Use relaxation techniques.

Close your eyes and practice inhaling deeply and breathing out eight times. Do this for five minutes. While you do this sit straight up with your legs crossed at your feet and hands gently resting in your lap. Picture a blank space and every time a thought pops into your head, simply replace it with that blank space. Focusing on breathing is a body relaxer.

Step 4: Diet & exercise are important.

Don’t down 3 cups of coffee per day and expect to sleep normally. Sugar can affect you too. Try cutting some of these out gradually or minimizing them to see if you sleep better. Exercise is important as well. If your mind is busy but your body is lazy, you won’t want to sleep. 30 minutes of walking daily helps.

Step 5: Listen to sleep relaxation music.

This will help you to offload stress. Oceanic sounds are very soothing and rhythmic.

Still having trouble sleeping? Increased anxiety or stress? Call us at In Step we offer group and individual therapy options to meet your needs, we are here to support you.