grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Sleep is one of the most important things a mentally ill person can have. It's critical to keeping healthy and feeling better. But there are strict rules -- it is ideal to sleep eight or nine hours a day. No more, no less.

The problem is, for mentally ill people sleeping can often be a struggle. Especially if you're bipolar, both mania and depression can trigger insomnia. (Mania creates excitement and energy that makes it hard to get to sleep, depression can make it hard to sleep just because you're so damned miserable all the time.) Then, especially if you're depressed and lack energy, or if you've stayed up all night, you can have trouble waking up again.

With that said, here are some tips I've found for getting to sleep and waking up:

- Meditation. This is one of the most vital tips. I meditate every night before bed. I switch what I listen to from night to night. Sometimes I listen to ASMR videos, other times I listen to guided meditation podcasts, self hypnosis sessions, or visual relaxation audios (which describe a beautiful place to you in a soothing voice and ask you to imagine yourself there). Basically, I just need something to listen to in order to wind down and help me get to sleep.

- Music. Some people check their Facebook or Twitter right before bed. I try not to do this, because it will only keep me awake. Instead, I listen to the radio. Music is much more relaxing and requires much less thought than an article on Facebook or Twitter. I also have a sound maker that does something similar, playing soothing sounds of waves crashing and seagulls calling to help me sleep. Use sound to your advantage -- it's one of the most powerful psychological forces we have.

- Warm drink. Sometimes I warm up a mug of milk, other times I make myself some non caffeinated herbal tea. This is a little something to look forward to each night before I go to bed, that helps me power down.

- Bath. I always take baths and showers at night, instead of during the day. It helps me wind down, feel nice and clean again, and get into "sleep mode."

- I take medications at night that make me sleepy. This is vital. I used to have major problems with insomnia, so I talked to my psychiatrist about them. Now I take a nightly medication that suppresses delusions and hallucinations, but also helps me relax and feel sleepy. And if you do have a medication like this, and you're taking it during the morning instead, why are you making this so hard on yourself? Just take it every twenty-four hours at night instead. Use the sleepiness to your advantage.

- I know when I feel tired, and I don't try to push myself. The average person feels tired at about ten or eleven o'clock at night, even if they don't realize it. Take the time to listen to your body. Don't start reading a bunch of articles or embark on some major project. Listen to some music, watch some TV (that is not the news), and then go to bed.

- When you want to wake up the next morning, set your alarm for a time before you actually want to get up. This will give you some time to wake up and force your way out of bed. And when you finally do, voila! It'll be at the time you wanted to wake up anyway.

- Have something to wake up for. This is important, too. Especially if you're depressed, schedule something to wake up and look forward to each morning. For me, it's having a cup of coffee and going for my morning walk. If you have nothing to do, you'll probably just stay in bed all day.

These are just some sleep hygiene tips I've found. I'll let you know if I come upon any more. Stay healthy!


Jul. 7th, 2015 01:42 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I listen to guided meditation and self hypnosis sessions. This is a bit like that. It's very relaxing and helps me fall asleep.

The whole point of this YouTube channel is to help the person listening achieve ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is a state in which a person receives soothing sensory stimuli, and then feels tingling in their head, scalp, or back in response. ASMR is definitely a thing some people experience, but there's not really any science behind it -- no one knows how or why it happens.

I've been experiencing ASMR all my life. Story time was my favorite when I was a little kid, because listening to people tell stories made my head feel all tingly. Years later, I was on Twitter and I saw someone talking about ASMR. I was like, "What the hell is this?" So I looked it up... and discovered a treasure trove of tingly goodness. I had no idea this was a thing! I had no idea I could get this feeling whenever I wanted it!

I get ASMR from listening to guided meditations, from listening to self hypnosis sessions... and also from listening to videos like this. When people say they put you in a "trance", what they mean is that they're helping you experience ASMR. Not everyone can achieve ASMR -- any good hypnotist will tell you that. But even if you can't achieve ASMR, listening to soft soothing voices take you to an inner world can still be very beneficial for lowering blood pressure and inducing sleepiness.

This may all sound like a bunch of bull, but I encourage you to try it. I find that sessions like these are great for relaxation -- even if you can't explain why, they just feel good.

PS: If you're looking for guided meditation and self hypnosis podcasts, some people to try are Nigel Hetherington, Tracks to Relax, and Lita Stone.


grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
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