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At Shenandoah Psychiatric Medicine in Augusta County, VA, as specialists in mood and thought disorders, we know that just seeing your psychiatrist every once in awhile isn’t enough during recovery. Believe it or not restlessness and sleep disorders are an extremely common condition when it comes to people living a psychiatric disorder. According to the Harvard Health Publications,

Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but those with psychiatric conditions are even more likely to be yawning or groggy during the day. Chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Traditionally, clinicians treating patients with psychiatric disorders have viewed insomnia and other sleep disorders as symptoms. But studies in both adults and children suggest that sleep problems may raise risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders. This research has clinical application, because treating a sleep disorder may also help alleviate symptoms of a co-occurring mental health problem (Harvard Mental Health Letter).

Trying to maintain a disciplined sleep schedule is crucial on the path to recovery. We’ve compiled a list of 4 ways that you can improve your sleeping and overall health.

1. Say ‘No’ to Snacking Late at Night

Any time you eat, your stomach is going to produce acid to begin the digestive process. The problem with eating late at night is that the stomach acid can accumulate and inch up your throat while you’re laying down. Even if you’re not conscious of it, sleeping with all that acid in your stomach will leave you restless during the night.

2. Avoid Stimulants 3 Hours Before Bed

This may seem like an obvious solution, but even having a cigarette or coffee just 3 hours before bedtime can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep until it wears out of your system. Make sure you are aware of what foods contain caffeine, like chocolate. If you do need a type of a relaxing warm beverage, trying drinking a nice tea before bed that’s caffeine free. Some great teas to try are chamomile, a lemon ginger, or a green tea.

3. Put Away Technology

We live in a digital world. It’s so easy to stay plugged in and engaged in what’s happening in the world around you. However all of these devices have harsh light that can upset your brain’s circadian rhythm. 30 minutes before you go to sleep try reading an engaging book, coloring, or completing a puzzle. Your brain and eyes will thank you for taking a break from the harsh screen. Many of us also use cell phones as an alarm–try putting your phone in another place in the room. This will help you avoid the temptation of surfing Facebook or Twitter, and it will also help you avoid hitting snooze so easily in the morning.

4. Stick to Your Sleep Hours

It can be hard to stick to a regular sleeping schedule, but your body will thank you. This is one of the most important practices you can adopt to regulate your sleep cycle. Depriving yourself of sleep during the week and then binging on it during the weekend does more harm than good. Give your body the sleep it deserves!

Need More Psychiatric Help in Augusta County, VA?

For years Shenandoah Psychiatric Medicine has served Augusta County, VA as well as Rockingham, Green, Nelson, and Albemarle Counties. We’ve been helping people all over Virginia deal with a variety of mood disorders. While we know that anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder and major depression can cause disruptions in your life —they shouldn’t be the end of it. We are happy to provide comprehensive care to all of our patients.