Although we may not like to admit it, many of the sleep problems we experience are the result of bad habits and behaviors. We stay up late or sleep in late. We eat foods that disagree with us or enjoy a drink late at night, oblivious to their disruptive impact on our sleep rhythms. Over time, we teach our body not to sleep and for relief we often turn to sleeping pills, which mask rather than solve the problem, and can lead to addiction. Ultimately for real success, with insomnia as with any chronic problem, one must look for the underlying imbalances and root causes and address those.
Here are the common sleep "mistakes" I see in my practice and their solutions.
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||Mistake #1: Not Keeping A Consistent Sleep Schedule
We often think we can make up for lost sleep by going to bed extra early another night but the body clock's ability to regulate healthy sleep patterns depends on consistency. We stay up late on weekends, expecting to make up sleep later or use the weekend to make up for lost sleep during the week. Both practices disrupt bodily rhythms and late night weekends in particular can cause insomnia during the workweek.
Solution: Create a routine and stick to it.
Getting up and going to bed around the same time, even on weekends, is the most important thing you can do to establish good sleep habits. Our bodies thrive on regularity and a consistent sleep schedule is the best reinforcement for the body's internal clock. Waking and sleeping at set times reinforces a consistent sleep rhythm and reminds the brain when to release sleep and wake hormones, and more importantly, when not to.
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- D. Maiuro PhD, Roland (13 Decemember 2009). Handbook of Integrative Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Medicine: Perspectives, Practices, and Research. Springer Publishing Company. pp. 128-130. ISBN 0-8261-1094-0. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4Tkdm1vRFbUC.
- Lader, Malcolm Harold; P. Cardinali, Daniel; R. Pandi-Perumal, S. (22 March 2006). Sleep and sleep disorders: a neuropsychopharmacological approach. Georgetown, Tex.: Landes Bioscience/Eurekah.com. p. 127. ISBN 0-387-27681-5.
- Authier, N.; Boucher, A.; Lamaison, D.; Llorca, PM.; Descotes, J.; Eschalier, A. (2009). "Second Meeting of the French CEIP (Centres d'Evaluation et d'Information sur la Pharmacodependance). Part II: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal.". Therapie 64 (6): 365-370. doi:10.2515/therapie/2009051. PMID 20025839.
- Glass J, Lanctot KL, Herrmann N, Sproule BA, Busto UE (November 2005). "Sedative hypnotics in older people with insomnia: meta-analysis of risks and benefits". BMJ 331 (7526): 1169. doi:10.1136/bmj.38623.768588.47. PMID 16284208. PMC 1285093. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/331/7526/1169.
Frank Lipman MD is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of Integrative and Functional Medicine. A practicing physician, he is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, where for over 20 years his personal blend of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest for life.
To bring his approach to a wider audience and not just his NYC patients, he recently created Eleven Eleven Wellness and Total Renewal, a leading edge integrative health program to get your health on track.
He is the author of REVIVE: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) (previously called SPENT) and TOTAL RENEWAL: 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).
Dr. Lipman lectures throughout the world on chronic disease prevention and is very involved with and sits on the Board of two non profits from his native South Africa, the Ubuntu Education Fund and Monkeybiz. He also has an intense passion for World music and is a frustrated DJ.
To hang with Frank, visit his blog, follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook community today.
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