Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes we can underestimate the effect of poor sleep on our mood written by Dr Vin Tran @ Springfield Ipswich

Most people can appreciate that poor sleep or the lack of sleep can have a big detrimental effect on our mood but yet, we often don't put enough effort into getting our 7-8 hours of good quality sleep.

So my challenge for you today is "to get your 7-8 hours of good quality sleep" by implementing these simple sleep hygeine strategies.
  • More exercise during the day and avoid strenuous exercise prior to sleep.
  • Make a commitment to sleep at a particular time for example 1030pm at night and stick to it so that it will become a habit.  Also, try to wake up at a regular time as well for example, 730am. Remember that it can take up to 50 days of consistent behaviour for things to become habit so please persevere.
  • If you have a list of things to do and think about, write it down and tell yourself to leave it for the next "working" day.
  • Obviously, avoid coffee and tea late in the day due to the caffeine content.  Also avoid smoking as it can act as a stimulant.  Alcohol may help with sleep but has an impact on the quality of sleep.
  • Avoid daytime naps.
  • Create a sleep inducing environment eg dark room and quiet.
  • Taking a warm shower may help as the lowering of the temperature post shower may help with sleep induction.
  • Early morning sunlight stimulation may help to "reset the body clock".
  • Use bed for sleep only as this will help to condition your mind that "bed is for sleep".
  • Avoid long term use of sleeping tablets as these are generally short term gain and long term pain.
  • If one requires an antidepressant for depression or anxiety, some antidepressants have a better profile for sleeping.  Please ask you Doctor regarding these.
If you have ongoing insomnia or broken sleep despite trying out some of these simple sleep hygeine strategies, please see your Family Doctor for further assistance.

Good sleeping....

Dr Vin Tran
MBBS FRACGP University of Qld