It’s one of the greatest threats to our individual and corporate health. There is no immunization to this malady, in fact scientists cannot put this “bug” under the microscope. However, its impact is widespread leading to other illnesses, lost workdays, struggling relationships, and significant mental clutter. Luckily, therapeutic providers like Talkspace remain ready and willing to help their clients conquer the bug and get on with life. What’s this mysterious adversary? Sleep deprivation. What’s a leading cause of debilitating sleep deprivation? Poor quality of nighttime sleep.
Reflecting on her own battle with sleep trouble, Jamie Wiebe of Talkspace points to a host of reasons why her engagement with sleep was immensely frustrating. “I’ve been a light sleeper since birth, but deep into my 20s, I’ve found myself confronting a new problem: nights spent staring at the ceiling waiting desperately for sleep. A series of big life changes — a new marriage, home, job, and puppy — turned my once-calm mind into a spinning series of worries and to-do lists. In fact, I swore my brain grew wilder and more active after nightfall.” As Wiebe contends, the fits of insomnia are universal in their reach, impacting most people at one time or another, impacting our performance at home and in the workplace, while also degrading our health. “The earliest cavemen probably tossed on their rocks, and even the richest among us lay exhausted (yet awake) on their 100% cotton sheets,” says Wiebe, adding, “But when a few nights of restlessness become a never-ending half-slumber, insomnia can wreak havoc on the human body — and the brain.” The good news? We do not need to wait until we are unable to stand before we seek professional assistance. From many providers like Talkspace, help is a few phone taps or mouse clicks away.
Scientific studies indicate that around 30 percent of adults grapple with chronic, sleep-related issues at points in their lives, with a whopping 10 percent experiencing daytime impairment and related distress due to insomnia. For providers with Talkspace and other similar therapeutic outfits, a first step for those dealing with chronic insomnia is a trip to the family physician’s office. Often the doctor will be able to rule out some underlying medical causes fueling insomnia, and instead point the patient toward factors like fatigue, stress, and anxiety. That’s when therapists can step in and offer techniques that address the emotional impetuses of sleep issues. Talkspace’s Jamie Wiebe certainly agrees. “While your first stop should be at the doctor — a variety of medical conditions can cause insomnia, including asthma, acid reflux, and hyperthyroidism — many times, insomnia is just one of the negative results of our endlessly busy, endlessly stressful modern lives.”
Stop Denying the Stress
Therapist Amanda Rausch of Seattle, Washington, points to stress as a leading contributor to her clients’ sleepless nights. “No matter where you live or what you do, stress is a part of life,” contends Rausch, “Stress activates our basic biological fight or flight instinct, which inhibits sleep.” Rausch also indicates that some of her clients rebuke the idea of stress in their lives, convinced that stress is not contributing to all the trouble at night. “If you are lying in bed and unable to quiet your thoughts, there likely is a root issue of stress,” says Rausch. Obviously, the self-assessment of one’s stress level presupposes some important questions. What’s running through your brain at night? Are there troubles at work or your relationship that are stroking the fires of stress? Perhaps there’s an unsettling transition on the horizon that causes the brain to “race” in discomfort. Can you name an impending transition? Indeed, the pros at Talkspace and other providers equipped to handle patient insomnia believe that “pinpointing your stressor can provide one avenue to relief.”
Techniques that Help
In the view of therapists like Wiebe and Rausch, clients desiring better sleep can take some simple quieting steps at home. For starters, the sleep deprived should craft a “Sleep Hygiene Routine” a set of daily steps to take in route to bedtime rituals that help the body ease into bed. Writing down worries and focusing on breathing are complimentary steps on the road to a good night’s sleep that help declutter the mind in advance of the drift toward good sleep. It’s also important to create a sleep-conducive sleep environment with an appropriate level of light, temperature, pillows, blankets, and the like, tailored to the individual’s personal preferences. As Wiebe contends, “Once you’ve created an oasis of calm in your bedroom, expect to see your sleep quality skyrocket.” Wiebe cautions, however, “But keep in mind that these physical adjustments alone may not be enough to still your mind entirely. Focusing on your mental health and learning to quiet your thoughts with the guidance of a therapist can help turn your nighttime hell into heaven.”
Here’s to good sleep, friend. Cut the stress, set the mood, and be prepared to ask for help if you continue to struggle.
 Extracted from: https://www.talkspace.com/blog/2018/03/calm-mind-cant-sleep/