Sleepless nights lead to an uncomfortable next day. Without enough sleep, our bodies and minds begin to shut down. Our productivity decreases, causing potential problems with work, school, and spending time with friends and family. A lack of alertness can lead to dangerous situations and poor decisions.
When you are not able to sleep the needed amount during the evenings, there are many techniques you may attempt or be advised to try. Instead of helping, these behaviors often make it harder to sleep. If you suffer from insomnia in Dallas, TX, please contact Aware Behavioral Health for our psychiatric services.
Ways You May Be Making Your Insomnia Worse
Even a few nights of insomnia can be difficult, but long-term, chronic insomnia can leave you feeling disconnected from lack of sleep and lack of control over your routine. Over time, that insomnia may also affect your physical health, as you need sleep in order for your body to function. Unfortunately, many of the coping mechanisms people use to fall asleep or increase productivity and alertness when tired further decrease your ability to get restful sleep during the night. These include:
- Taking Naps – You might feel as though a daytime nap is a good chance to catch up on a few hours of sleep, but it doesn’t provide enough time to get the amount of deep sleep you need to feel rested. The nap will also interrupt the normal sleeping and waking cycle, making it harder to fall asleep again at night.
- Going to Bed Early (or Sleeping In) – Like naps, sleeping early or late will not make you feel more rested and the lack of routine makes it difficult for your body to know when it should prepare to sleep. A dedicated routine trains your body to wake up and go to sleep at the right times.
- Drinking Caffeine – Caffeine, as well as nicotine, are stimulants that accelerate the activity of your nervous system. Since the nervous system slows down when you sleep, this additional activity works against your natural behaviors. Caffeine can stay in your system for 24 hours, so even early morning coffee should be avoided when you have chronic insomnia.
- Drinking Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant, so it slows down your nervous system. While it may make you feel tired, it does not equate to better sleep. Instead, it will cause restlessness as the alcohol wears off, keeping you from feeling truly rested.
- Working when Insomnia Keeps You Awake – Starting on work tasks or those that require complex thinking when you can’t sleep will only make it harder for you to slow brain activity enough to sleep. On the other hand, a relaxing activity like reading, a bath, or folding clothes can help. It gets you out of bed so you are no longer focused on the stress of not being able to fall asleep, but does not stimulate your brain.
While creating a regulated sleep schedule and removing alcohol and caffeine from your routine can help, they do not address the underlying causes of insomnia. That means you also should be careful not to be frustrated if cutting all these habits doesn’t help. Fighting insomnia often needs more support, time, and therapy, and typically doesn’t go away overnight.
Treatment for Insomnia with Aware Behavioral Health
To effectively manage symptoms of insomnia, especially in chronic cases, a more comprehensive approach is often necessary. Psychiatry offers treatment options built around your unique situation. Dallas psychiatrist Dr. Sehdev at Aware Behavioral Health is dedicated to helping patients with insomnia in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With a combination of medication and cognitive therapy, it is possible to manage the effects of insomnia and address the stress, anxiety, depression, or other challenges to your mental well-being that prevent a good night’s rest.