Absolutely! say researcher’s from Bingham University. Their recent study found that participants who had less than 8 hours sleep were more likely to be affected with repetitive negative thinking and found it harder to ‘move on’ when they visualised negative pictures allowing more ruminating thought patterns than their longer sleeping counterparts.It doesn’t take an official study to tell us that our thought patterns are compromised when we find ourselves in sleep deficit. If you have had children you would be intimately familiar with lack of sleep and probably remember the exact day when your baby started sleeping through – bliss!
Another factor interfering with our sleep patterns is shift working (tough gig), nocturnal habits such as gaming or binge watching Netflix, or my personal one is studying – like when you leave the assignment to the last week and need every single hour in the day to catch up.. when will I ever change.. probs never I think!
So, if you are sleeping less than 8 hours a day and find yourself needing extra emotional support then there are a few sleep hygeine techniques to try if falling asleep is your downfall.
- Eliminate or reduce stimulants (especially after 12pm) i.e. sugar & caffeine
- Try to go to bed around the same time each night – you may have a rule that you go to bed within a certain hour
- Ensure your environment is very dark to allow your melatonin to flow
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow
- Make sure your bedding is temperature appropriate – being too hot or cold is no fun when trying to sleep
- Reduce your alcohol consumption – especially in the evening
- Read in bed (as long as this is not too stimulating like horror or crime etc.)
- Reduce screen time before bed – phones / computers / ipads / tv
- Run a relaxing bath with Magnesium salts and lavender
- Exercise regularly
- Eat tryptophan rich foods to promote the melatonin pathways – i.e. turkey, eggs & dairy
- Find a meditation app you that helps sleep & relaxation (only time screen time is allowed)
- Take off your smart watch or wrist band (some people have found them to disrupt sleep)
- Turn all digital clocks or lights away from your vision as they can disrupt melatonin signals
If you have tried all of these techniques and you still find you cannot sleep, it may be time to talk to your friendly naturopath for some botanical or nutritional assistance. You may also consider seeing a therapist to talk about any ruminating thoughts you may have rolling around playing on your mind as well.
Remember – sleep is not a luxury!
Peace out. XJen
Study info if you are interested: Nota, J.A. Coles, M.E. (2017). “Shorter sleep duration and longer sleep onset latency are related to difficulty disengaging attention from negative emotional images in individuals with elevated transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking”. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. Published online October 16 2017 doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2017.10.003