There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.
Homer, The Odyssey
While we sleep many important functions take place that help the body in physical recovery and repair, support brain development, cardiac function and body metabolism, as well as support learning, improving memory and mood. As a clinician, insomnia (inability to sleep) is a very common presenting problem from patients. Often the reasons behind poor sleep are multifactorial but almost always revolve around stress/anxiety, lack of exercise, poor diet and use of technology at bed time. Something as simple as allocating just 20minutes to walk in the evenings (when it is cool and quiet) can be just enough to help settle the mind, whilst providing a gentle workout before bed. Intensive physical activity is also very beneficial but this shouldn't be done just before bed. Avoiding cups of tea and coffee after 6pm ensures that caffeine is not present to keep you awake.
Anxiety and Stress
“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Dealing with stress and anxiety is a very challenging hurdle we all face. This often requires the help of friends, our family and our doctor. The most important thing I tell my patients is that "You are not alone. Someone else has seen me today with anxiety, and there will be another before the day is out." We are all not perfect, and many of us make mistakes and have to deal with very hard challenges in our life. However, one of the benefits of talking about our difficulties to others, is that we find our troubles will resonate with them; allowing people to voice support, offer advice or even suggest treatment. Sometimes, just being heard is enough to allow us to be a little more at ease. This in turn, can result in a better sleep at night. Hear each other out, speak up and always be confident in asking for someone to help you.