Sleep: The Restorative Power of a Good Night’s Rest

Sleep. How many of us get enough of it? For many, it’s a rare and elusive ghost, skulking around the dark corners of the mind. Those who are unable to sleep find themselves stumbling through life with bags under their eyes, coffee in hand, and a permanent state of exhaustion. For others, it’s a welcome reprieve no matter the time of day. There are many articles that relay the virtues of sleep. Sleep is so important that without, we start losing our minds. Literally. Without sleep, good luck making coherent sentences, let alone figuring out what day it is.

Yet, nights go by and people continue to struggle with sleep. Is it technology? Your screens? Work? Why is sleep so hard to come by? We know that we need sleep, that it is restorative and the lack of sleep is slowly killing us.

One of the most common reasons why people struggle with sleep is stress. When we are under stress, our minds can race with worries and concerns, making it difficult to switch off and fall asleep. This can create a vicious cycle, as the more we worry about not sleeping, the harder it becomes to actually fall asleep. Getting out of bed when this is happening may be more helpful than lying in bed and trying to force ourselves to fall asleep. While out of bed, consider gentle movement such as stretching or some light reading. Avoid the television, cell phones, or computers as much as possible. If sleep loss is stress-related, and you have tried exercising throughout the day, practicing mindfulness or meditation, consider therapy or counseling.

If sleep loss is related to a medical condition, it is extremely important to seek treatment whether it is for sleep apnea, getting medication for depression or high anxiety, physical therapy for chronic pain. It is difficult to have a decent day if you cannot sleep and identifying the root cause of the lack of sleep is beneficial can help clear the path to improve our sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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