We all know sleep is a vital part of living well, but few prioritize it. Whether it is because we are up all night playing games and downloading apps on our new iPhone 6, or because we are simply overscheduled, sleep is often the last on our to-do list.
However, adequate sleep helps to better alleviate the effects of mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and a good night’s rest allows us better manage symptoms of borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Due to this significant connection, many women with mental health disorders are prescribed sleep-inducing medication. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 8.6 million American adults report taking a prescription sleep aid and the majority of those are women.
Women are often pressured with the responsibility of running a house, being a parent and working outside of the home. They may rarely find time to relax after a long day, making sleep feel almost impossible. For many women, they become reliant upon sleep aids, and may develop a dependency that only worsens their insomnia and may result in terrible side effects.
To improve quality of life, Brookhaven Retreat encourages the women in its residential treatment program to rely less on pills and more on skills by first addressing the emotional and mental health reasons behind insomnia and learning to embrace natural remedies for sleep. Here are a few tips to achieving proper sleep naturally:
- Snacking: Resist the urge to midnight snack on sugary foods such as cereals, white bread, candy and desserts. Instead try eating a banana, which has potassium and magnesium that relax muscles or pumpkin seeds and almonds that contain tryptophan.
- Routine: One of the major components of depression treatment is creating and following a bedtime routine. This means going to bed at the same time every night, and rising at the same time every morning. Women learn healthy habits such as journaling, bathing or reading before bedtime as a way of stimulating a peaceful mind.
- Snoozing: Hitting the snooze button is associated with poor sleep and can leave us feeling groggy and increase anxiety and depression. Avoid lingering in bed after your alarm goes off by placing the alarm on the other side of the room.
According to the Better Sleep Council, 80 percent of Americans say they would feel more prepared for the day with an additional hour of sleep at night. Although medication is sometimes necessary in managing mental health disorders, Brookhaven Retreat urges women to explore the many natural remedies that offer holistic support for a better nights sleep.