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Saturday, February 01 2020
Sleep Hygiene

Survivor after survivor contact us and express troubles with sleeping. It feels impossible to get to sleep, or we wake up multiple times during the night, we sleep all day, or we have frequent nightmares. Not only is this frustrating and inconvenient, but it also affects all aspects of our lives and healing. When we get good sleep, we are able to think more clearly, process emotions more easily, and in general function better.  

 

Let’s talk about ways to fix our sleep, otherwise known as sleep hygiene.  

 

  • Safety 

    • It can certainly be hard to sleep if we are feeling unsafe! Making sure you are in a safe place away from unsafe people, securing your home or sleep space, or installing a security system (or even just getting a security system sticker to deter people!) can help us rest easy.  

  • Sweet dreams 

    • Did you know that we have some control over what we dream? In order to stay away from nightmares, try to manipulate your dreams. Keep a journal by your bed and write down all unpleasant thoughts or memories before going to bed. Close the book on those thoughts and memories. Maybe even visualize those thoughts and memories floating away, being put into a container, or burning up. Let them go. Then bring in pleasant thoughts.  

    • If you wake up to a nightmare or flashback, process or contain it. Call our 24/7 helpline and talk about it, write it down in your journal, or once again visualize putting those thoughts in a container to come back to another time.  

  • Routine, routine, routine 

    • Our bodies get into routines and those routines cue things like sleepiness. If we establish regular routines, it will be so much easier to sleep! Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night and day. Consider coming up with a relaxing sleep routine. Whether it’s a bath or shower, yoga in bed, a guided meditation, reading a book, or just relaxing, if we do it consistently, we will begin to associate it with sleep. 

  • Sleep space 

    • Since we get used to our routines, it is important to be mindful of our sleep space! Use the bed only for sleep so your body knows to sleep there rather than staying awake. If sleep doesn’t come within 20 minutes, get out of bed and try again later! We don’t want to associate bed with being awake at all. Keep electronics out of the bedroom; they teach us to stay awake and the blue light from them tricks our bodies into thinking it’s daytime!  

    • Create a comfortable and relaxing space to sleep. Move clocks if they keep you up, keep your space quiet and dark, and remember that cool temperatures are best for bringing on sleep.  

  • Day to night 

    • What we do during the day directly affects how we sleep at night! Getting exercise during the day and avoiding substance and nicotine use will help us sleep. What we eat and drink also directly affects our sleep. Try to avoid caffeine after 3pm and don’t eat a meal too late at night. Cherries, almonds, and herbal teas before bed will help us sleep. B vitamins and melatonin can also assist with sleeping, but always check with a doctor before adding new supplements, especially in conjunction with any medications. 

  • Sleep accessories 

    • Having the right accessories can help as well! Several survivors have told me that they’ve purchased weighted blankets which have worked wonders!  

 

Sleep tight! 

       

 

                                                                       

Contact us

Safe Place Sexual Assault Center
PO Box 235
Batesville, Indiana 47006
812-932-SAFE (7233)
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This project is supported in part (or in whole) by grant, 03215VAGX006403 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Views contained herein are those of the author and do not represent the position of USDOJ or ICJI.