As every mother knows, getting a good night's sleep is a heaven-sent luxury.
Dr. Wendy Walsh: Besides the tiny roommates with fevers, nightmares, and wet beds, the other enemies of our coveted shut-eye are those damned hormones, who can't seem to make up their mind if we are PMS, postpartum, or peri-men!!!
If you are like me and often make appearances on Facebook at 3:00 AM, you know you are not alone. Yep, there's a wakeful mom community online at that hour discussing men and carpool. Surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders, and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. The use of chemical sleep aids has been increasing, and this is making for some groggy days and risks of dependency.
But the good news here is that cognitive behavioral psychologists have come up with a prescription for sleep based on psychology rather than pharmacology. Follow these instructions and you will be sleeping like a baby (if only your baby could do it too!).
• Don't go to bed when you are spent and exhausted. Go when you are actually sleepy. When I'm fatigued, I put my feet up in the living room and read until I feel, finally, sleepy.
• Use your bed for sleep and sex only. No reading, eating, TV watching, etc. This helps your body learn that bed is associated with sleep. It's kinda like how you potty-trained your toddler with an M&M reward -- making an association between the toilet and a small reward.
• Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. This means no sleeping in to "catch up." Sleeping in will make your internal clock go awry. Be strict about your wake-up time seven days a week.
• If you find yourself waking in the night with bouts of insomnia, leave the bed and only return when you are feeling sleepy.
• Do not nap during the day. Push on through if you want to get rid of insomnia.
• And on the brain chemistry note, no caffeine past 4 PM, go easy on alcohol consumption, and try a glass of warm milk before bed. Calcium is reputed to be nature's tranquilizer.
And if all else fails, log on and bond with your mom community.
|Dr. Wendy Walsh holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and her area of interest is Attachment Theory, a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. As a psychological assistant registered with the California Board of Psychology, Dr. Walsh has treated individuals, couples and families for a variety of mental health concerns including personality disorders, anger management, eating and substance disorders, and depression. Connect with Dr. Walsh on Facebook.|