Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Sleep Too Excited to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

It’s not too often we get too excited about going to the movies, but this year there are a couple I am anxious to see, one being Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opening this Friday at 12:01am. Definitely a movie a lot of people will see and possibly stand in line for at such an early hour. Last night after watching one of its prequels; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, I found myself tossing about and couldn’t fall asleep easy because my mind is racing about the upcoming sequel. No matter what causes you to have high levels of anxiousness, whether it’s just a silly movie or a life changing situation like; having a baby or getting a new job, the inability to fall asleep or getting little to no sleep can lead to insomnia.

[caption id="attachment_1171" align="alignright" width="300" caption="No Sleep Too Excited to See Pirates of the Caribbean: One Stranger Tides"][/caption]

Over time feeling incapable to let your mind relax enough to go to sleep can become a habit that is very hard to break. So much so, people tend to stay up later to avoid trying to go asleep and thinking, “The later I stay up I should fall asleep because I am too exhausted to think!” They try alternative approaches to help them sleep like watching television in bed or drinking alcohol. Watching television may help you to keep your mind off your to-do-list, but it doesn’t allow your mind to relax enough to fall asleep. It still provides mental stimulation; like watching Jack Sparrow getting himself out of hot water. AHHH Jack, don’t we love him. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but after the effects wear off it causes a restless sleep (if not wake you up to go to the bathroom). Then there you are laying there at 3am trying to go back to sleep. I hate that!

Does any of this sound familiar? You are not alone. There are many people that have trouble falling asleep. During the day we accumulate all this data that has to be debriefed and stored so we can provide room for more data the next day. When we question our decisions or try to find the right decision for an upcoming event it can be very frustrating and your mind goes into overdrive when you lay in bed. Once you do fall asleep you get little to no sleep before the dreaded alarm clock wakes you up to start another day stumbling about half asleep. I have written about the body’s need for at least seven hours of sleep to allow your brain to repair and restore itself and if you get less than six hours a night it can impact your daily life as well as your health. See: Rest Assured on Seven Hours of Sleep for more information.

Chronic insomnia is a sleep disorder that requires medical attention, but if you only suffer from an occasional bout of insomnia due to a life changing experience there may be alternative methods or treatment other than prescription medication. Sleeping pills have bad side effects and are addicting, so it is imperative to find natural choices that are much healthier for you instead.

If you find that you are tossing and turning after 20 minutes, get up! Write down what is bothering you as it is better to get it out of your head and onto paper. This way you don’t have to worry that you will forget something in the morning. Do you toss and turn every night? It may be time to check with your doctor to see if there is an underlying reason you can’t fall asleep. He/she may require you to keep a sleep journal for 2 weeks or so. Keeping track of when you fall asleep and how well you sleep will help your doctor diagnosis a sleep disorder.

Getting yourself all keyed up over a “movie” for example all you need to do is learn to relax and your mind will take over and do the rest. Get it? OK, here is a basic breathing/relaxation technique I have used that helps me to fall asleep to think about Jack Sparrow another day.

Breathe in through your nose and exhale by the mouth counting backwards from 8 to 1, 3 times slowly.
Tighten you legs while inhaling through your nose. As you exhale release the tension in your legs counting backwards from 8 to 1, slowly.
Tighten and release your arms, then your torso and lastly, your head/neck using the same breathing pattern. Be aware how your body and mind relax with each exhale. Tell yourself to relax, relax, relax, etc.

The content provided in No Sleep Too Excited to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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