It’s no secret that sleep is important for our mental and physical health. We all know that the best way to get a good night’s sleep is by finding an enjoyable routine before bedtime. But what if you have PTSD? It’s important to find ways to cope with your symptoms, so you can still enjoy a healthy, restful night of slumber. Here are some tips on how to catch up on lost sleep while managing your PTSD symptoms at the same time! Read on!
Make Sure You Have a Comfortable Sleep Environment
Your bedroom should be clean, cool, free of any light or noise pollution, and have the right temperature for you (most people prefer between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit). Investing in a quality weighted blanket, such as those from Mela, is also important because it will calm you down and help you sleep way better. Besides this, use blackout curtains, so there’s no light shining through when you’re trying to get some sleep at night! Sleeping with earplugs can help reduce noise distractions as well. This way you’ll feel relaxed before going into a deep slumber state where all of these symptoms will pass.
Physical activity is a great way to improve your sleep. Studies show that regular exercise can help reduce symptoms of insomnia, which means you’ll be able to get better sleep at night! It’s important to do the right types of exercises and ensure they are done at an appropriate time before bedtime. Some of the best exercises for sleep include yoga, tai chi, and walking.
Go to Bed at the Same Time and Get Up at the Same Time Every Morning
If you go to bed at the same time every night, you’ll set your body on a schedule that it will adhere to even when you can’t control your sleep schedule (i.e. because of traveling or having insomnia). Doing this will reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep and make sure that your sleep quality is high.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. It’s important not to disrupt this schedule on weekends by staying up past midnight or sleeping in all day long because it’ll throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm regulates things like when you want to eat when you’re awake, and when you feel tired. Therefore, disrupting it can cause issues with mood regulation, appetite control, blood sugar levels, and more.
Adopt distracting stimuli before you go to bed. This could be a calming practice, like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. It can also be something as simple as reading from an e-reader such as a laptop or smartphone. However, it’s worth noting that the blue wavelength light of these devices can stimulate brain activity and make it harder to fall asleep. A great alternative is reading physical books or listening to podcasts or audiobooks. This will help to reduce the “excitement” of your brain before sleeping so you can get to sleep faster!
Take a Hot Bath Before Bedtime
A hot bath is one of the best ways for PTSD sufferers to relax their muscles and allow blood flow to oxygenate their brains. The warmth that comes from taking a hot bath will increase muscle relaxation, which means it’ll be easier for your body to fall asleep after getting out. However, it’s important not to overheat yourself by staying in too long or turning up the heat because this could actually make falling asleep more difficult (nevertheless, don’t let anyone tell you bathing isn’t relaxing).
Manage Your Stress Levels
It’s no surprise that stress management is one of the most important factors to consider when you have PTSD. Not only does it affect your sleep, but also your relationships with others and how you cope on a day-to-day basis.
Stress management can be done in a variety of ways and through different techniques. For instance, if you’re having trouble sleeping because your mind is racing from PTSD symptoms, counting backward from 100 to 0 can help slow down those thoughts so that you feel relaxed enough before going into a deep slumber state where all of these symptoms will pass. Also, listening to relaxing music, meditating before bedtime, and taking a warm bath can help calm your mind.
Control Your Night Walking Habit
People with PTSD experience episodes where they wake up and feel like they need to walk around their house. This is called “night walking” or somnambulism! Night walking tends to happen during the second half of your sleep cycle, when you’re in deep REM (rapid eye movement) mode. Take charge of your sleepwalking. You can set an alarm at the exact moment you are always in the throes of sleepwalking. When you deliberately wake up, you disrupt the adverse sleep patterns and eventually develop a normal sleeping routine.
By doing all of these things, your PTSD will be better managed, but so will your insomnia! Sleep is something that should never be overlooked because it plays a major role in managing our overall health. Make sure to address this problem immediately if you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep-related issues like night walking. Having enough sleep at night ensures that you are able to perform well when you are awake. If you start implementing some of these tips into your daily routine, then you’ll begin noticing significant improvements in no time!