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Struggling with insomnia

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SOME island residents interviewed by this writer said they are worried about the Covid-19 pandemic and haven’t been sleeping well because of it.

Christy Sakaziro

 

In an article posted on Fast Company, Arriane Cohen wrote: “Researchers are setting off alarms about the mental health crisis quietly sweeping the nation alongside Covid-19, in a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors say to expect an ‘overflow of mental illness that will inevitably emerge from this pandemic,’ and that the surge will itself be a pandemic.”

For those struggling with insomnia, Harvard Medical School offers the following tips:

Sleep restriction. Fight the tendency to spend a lot of time in bed with the hope of falling asleep. In reality, less time in bed helps you to sleep better and make the bedroom a welcome sight instead of a torture chamber.

Reconditioning. A few simple steps can help people with insomnia to associate the bedroom with sleep instead of sleeplessness and frustration. For example, use the bed only for sleeping and go to bed only when you're sleepy. If you're unable to sleep, move to another room and do something relaxing. Stay up until you are sleepy, and then return to bed. If sleep does not follow quickly, repeat.

Relaxation techniques. A racing or worried mind is the enemy of sleep. Sometimes physical tension is to blame. Techniques to quiet a racing mind — such as meditation, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback — can help you sleep better.

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT for insomnia aims to change the negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep into positive ones. People with insomnia tend to become preoccupied with sleep and apprehensive about the consequences of poor sleep. This worry makes relaxing and falling asleep nearly impossible. The basic tenets of this therapy include setting realistic goals and learning to let go of inaccurate thoughts that can interfere with sleep.

Some island residents interviewed by this writer said exercising late in the afternoon helps them sleep well at night.

If your sleeplessness persists, consult a doctor.

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