Sleep Related Blog Posts – A Reference Guide

Sleeping German Shepherd

Sleeping German Shepherd (Photo credit: rightsandwrongs)

Organizing the “shelves” ūüôā

  1. Sleep.  Be a Friend to Yourself.

  2. Sleep Hygiene – My Version

  3. Self-Care Does NOT Always Mean Doing What You Want

  4. Draw Sleep Hygiene Into Your Culture

  5. Sleep Is The Vital Sign Of Psychiatry

  6. Just Go To Sleep

  7. Good Sleep

  8. You Can’t Barter With It. ¬†Sleep.

  9. Keep It Simple

  10. Regardless The Reasons Not To, Go Get Your Sleep

  11. Sleep Does Not Lose As Gracefully As He Lets Us Think

Sleep Hygiene – my version

1.  The bedroom is only for sleep and for sex.

  • If you aren’t having sex than all you get to do is sleep. ¬†No food, no phone, no TV. ¬†Only sleep.
  • The bedroom is a sanctuary for sleep. Your¬†subconscious¬†is way to powerful to toy with. ¬†When you go to bed you want it to be telling you to sleep, not read that last chapter or check the latest on @Twitter.
  • This can be a change in family culture and affects everyone in the home.

2. ¬†No naps longer than 20 minutes during the day time – Known as a “Power Nap.”

  • If you are tired and have the luxury of lying down, do it! ¬†But set your alarm to wake you up in 20 minutes. ¬†You can do this 20 times a day if you want to. ¬†But no longer than 20 minutes. ¬†Anything longer will break into your deeper stages of sleep and throw off your sleep cycle (also known as sleep architecture) at night.

3.  No caffeine second half of the day.

4.  Exercise but not before bed.

  • Exercise will help regulate your sleep cycle at night if you just give your sleep initiation some space.
  • Try to get forty¬†to sixty minutes¬†5-7 days a week of aerobic exercise to get best results.
  • Look at exercise like a pill. ¬†A prescription. ¬†Something for your medical and emotional health (inspiring to me), not necessarily for your¬†waistline (inspiration¬†notoriously¬†short-lived.)
  • Every day think, “I’m exercising so I feel good, so I sleep good, so I can do what I want in life” – what ever that may be for you. ¬†Some people will say, “…so I’m not a crazy Mom!”

5.  Keep the lights dim before bed.

  • Light turns off melatonin release from the pineal gland in our brains. ¬†Darkness releases it. ¬†Having your face 6 inches from the computer screen or TV before you lay down doesn’t give your body much time to turn itself off. ¬†Melatonin is a cornerstone in sleep architecture.
  • Some people who feel they must be on the computer or TV before bed have found that wearing sunglasses for at least the last 30 minutes helps.

6.  Go to bed and get out of bed at the same time every day.

7. ¬†If you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until you feel sleepy. ¬†Then go to bed and try again.

  • Refer back to #5 when choosing what and how to do your activities during that time.

8. ¬†If you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes, consider taking a sleep aid.

9.  Do not take any sleep aids over-the-counter except melatonin, valerian root, or chamomile.

  • All others including anything containing diphenhydramine, block your deep sleep. You may end up sleeping a longer amount of time, but you won’t be getting restorative sleep. ¬†It is during the deep sleep that your body heals, replenishes it’s hormones and neurotransmitters, and¬†consolidates¬†memories.

10.  If you choose to take a prescription sleep aid, do not take benzodiazepines such as diazepam, temazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, or lorazepam to name a few.  These also block deep sleep.

  • Sleep aids safe for deep sleep and sleep architecture, include atypical benzodiazepine receptor ligands – such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), or zaleplon (Sonata). ¬†The main differences between these are how long it takes for them to be metabolized/washed out of the body. ¬†Some are quick and some last the full 8 hours.
  • Trazodone (Desyrel) is also safe for sleep structure and¬†maintenance.
  • Sometimes people will find that combining something like zolpidem with trazodone is most effective for them rather than using only one agent.

11.  Do not use alcohol to sleep.  Alcohol is a depressant (will make you depressed) and also blocks deep sleep.

12.  Do not smoke before bed or if you awaken from sleep.  Nicotine is stimulating.

13. ¬†Don’t sleep with your pets or children. ¬†They are disruptive.

  • It’s not personal. ¬†It’s sleep hygiene.

Self Care Tip #34 РUse these tips to decode how to sleep well.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  Why do you skip the bits of sleep hygiene that you do?  What helps you in your tough work of being your own friend in regards to sleep?  Please tell us your story.  

Insight Isn’t Worth Much For Self-Care… Or Is It?

Autumn Red peach.

Image via Wikipedia

Much of self-care is about taking accountability for our choices. ¬†Choices come in deliberately¬†– “Oh my! ¬†I’m old already! ¬†It’s time to have a baby!” ¬†Or not deliberately – “Oh my! ¬† He’s hot! ¬†Whoops! ¬†I’m having a baby!” ¬†Both choices brought a baby. ¬†Both choices accountable by Me.

In interpersonal exchanges this is ever in debate.  From parenting to being parented, from spouses to friendship and all up and down the Mississippi river Рthe martyrs stake rarely collects dust.

That baby keeps her awake and she can never sleep with her husband any more or else no one gets any sleep.

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on those tiny infant shoulders. ¬†Don’t you think?

Mom just runs my life!  I have things to do but every weekend she expects me to be by her side!

Mom may run your life but you are choosing for her to do it if that is true.

The scenes could continue on our imaginary screen, but our own are enough to keep us busy. ¬†We don’t need others from others to get the point. ¬†But insight only takes us so far. ¬†Sometimes I get all grumpy and say, “Insight isn’t worth much.” ¬†Because, we all know that we don’t choose many of our emotions. ¬†We are learning here at also that we don’t choose many of our behaviors. ¬†Insight sits in us like a stone fruit. ¬†Eat it up or don’t, eventually all we have left is a stone if we don’t have the biology to work with it.

Self-Care Tips in a stone fruit:  To take care of ourselves, to take accountability for our choices, to use our insight for more than a midmorning snack fruit Рwe must have the working body to turn insight into production.  One stone fruit can germinate and grow.

Question:  What relationship does insight have in your self-care?  What limitations does it have in your self-care?  please tell us your story.

Good Sleep

Naruto Sleeping

Image by lyk3_0n3_tym3 via Flickr

When our day feels out of control, perhaps our night doesn’t have to be.

During sleep, our body replenishes¬†hormones and chemical messengers that it needs so badly to cope with the many physical and emotional stressors throughout our day. ¬†If we don’t sleep well, we can’t cope as well. ¬†It is during sleep that our memory¬†consolidates¬†and we can see where that might affect us. ¬†Poor sleep means poor day time memory, concentration and focus.

Focus on the part of sleep that we can influence.  This is called sleep hygiene.  Possibly we can choose what time to go to bed, what time to wake up, what is in our bedroom and what we do before bed.

Any parent knows that there are times when these things are not in our control but they also know that without a good nights rest, parenting during the day is much harder.  Pick any one of those things to start with, such as getting to bed at the same time every night, at a time that allows us to sleep a good 7+ hours for the night.  Chart our sleep in a sleep journal for a week to get a better sense of our own sleep train and the areas we can take control over.

Taking care of others means taking care of ourself. ¬†“You can’t give what you don’t have.” ¬†And without sleep, we have a lot less to give to ourself and others.

Self Care Tip Рget good sleep.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: ¬†What does it offer you to know that the night doesn’t have to be another place of chaos in your life? ¬†How has that improved your ability to be your own friend.

Just Go To Sleep


Image via Wikipedia

A multitude of sins would be forgiven, pills would be forgotten, pain would be diminished, hope would be restored, brain would be healthy if we would but go to sleep.

Questions: ¬†What keeps you from self-indulging when it is time to go to bed but you’d rather not? ¬†What helps you get your¬†restorative¬†brain rest? ¬†Have you noticed that everything is better with sleep? ¬†Would you describe it to us?

Self-Care Tip РGet solid restful sleep.  Be a friend to yourself.

Grief Can Be Treasured At The Same Time That We Celebrate Life

Self-Care Tip #283 – Find the treasure in your grief while celebrating life.

Today is my daughter’s sixth birthday. ¬†If ever there was a person who doubled the love she received, it is this chid. ¬†She is all passion. ¬†Yes, both ways, but that isn’t to judge. ¬†Just, there is so little I can offer in words to describe her power of self.

They're asleep!

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight, we pushed two twin beds together so she and I could sleep beside each other.  Her sister slept nearby on another twin bed.  Her brother set his bed up in the closet.  (I know.)

If I wasn’t so tired, old and broke, I might be made vulnerable by times like this to having more kids. ¬†Since that’s not going to change, these chubs are what we will stick with. ¬†Happily.

My mind is turned toward God by this girl.  I somehow arrive in the moment praying when with her, perhaps for strength and patience or for humility and gratitude.  I learn from her.

Mommy, when I’m scared I talk to Jesus.

Often in times like this, I think of my niece, dead now six years, and how her parents and we wanted what was, what was stripped.  Still grieving and still living the life with us and in us, our braided thoughts and emotions easily lose their flow.

But today I have this clarity.  My niece is gone now six years and ten days.  Today my daughter is six years old.  Today I am sleeping with my three children.  Today I know that this is precious but this is not all we want.  We want what comes after our living years.  We want to let loose to Love the grief and the life; to untangle.  Not more.  Not less.  But we want.  We want what we have, now, although still in the unknown dimension of our forever.

In psychiatry, we are alert to grief that warps the ability to engage in life. ¬†Grief that mars the connections of survivors. ¬†Grief that becomes pathology, brain disease and a medical condition. ¬†This grief disables and, for example, in the case of my daughter’s birthday today, would dissolve my ability to feel pleasure.

It is difficult to gain access to treatment as many of these survivors have ill opinions about medical care. ¬†Such as; fearing medications will mute their connection with the deceased; mute their grief, or in other words, tribute/offering to the deceased; take away the personal punishment for surviving…


  • What do you say to these weeping lives? ¬†How can we¬†de-stigmatize¬†medical care for them?
  • How have you been able to treasure your grief and the life with you and in you?

Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

steps 15

Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious РEmotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk РEmotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea РSmall conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model РBiological, Psychological, Social selves
  6. Me! ¬†(Today’s Post)

What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious. ¬†We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as ‚Äúsusceptible‚ÄĚ to negative ‚Äúcontagion‚ÄĚ in turn and perhaps, be¬†more available to giving and¬†receiving¬†positive ‚Äúemotion-contagion.‚ÄĚ ¬†Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don‚Äôt do their own self-care. ¬†We can have that connection without personalizing what isn‚Äôt about us. ¬†Sigh. ¬†That is nice, isn‚Äôt it? ¬†Then ‚Ķout at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our¬†unconscious¬†biology. ¬†Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?


For example: ¬†Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–>¬†Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.