Given what I know about my sleep habits. I recommend to myself that I get approximately_hours of sleep per night. To best keep my sleep cycle stable, I recommend a regular bedtime at_
and a regular waking time at_.
Although it may be tempting to stay up later and sleep in on weekends, this change in sleep may increase the chance of depression or mania. The bottom line is—the more consistent you are in maintaining a sleep schedule, the better your chances are of keeping your mood stable. This strategy does not have to be carried out in an all-or-nothing fashion. If you find it difficult to keep to a regular sleep schedule, you may simply choose to use a more defined schedule during stressful times.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, it may be helpful to pay attention to the following sleep tips.
Keep stress out of the bedroom. Discussing your concerns about your life or family or doing work-like activities (e.g., paying bills and reading documents for work) should not take place in your bed or in the bedroom. Save the bedroom for bed activities. Worry or work at a desk, not in bed.
Use muscle relaxation techniques in bed. Relaxation tapes may help you relax and feel even more comfortable in bed. Remember the goal is not to go to sleep but to become very comfortable in bed so that sleep comes naturally. Commercially available relaxation tapes may help with this process.
Never compete to get to sleep. If you find that you are having difficulty sleeping, do not try harder. Trying hard to get to sleep often has the opposite effect; it wakes a person up with feelings of frustration and anger. Instead, try to enjoy being in bed and resting, even if sleep does not come. Direct your attention to how comfortable you can be in bed (how the pillow feels or how good it feels to lie down and stretch), how relaxed your muscles feel, and how you can let your thoughts drift. In other words, let yourself be very passive about sleep. Your job is to be comfortable in bed and let sleep come to you.
Give yourself time to umvind before sleep. Make sure the last hour of activity before bedtime is relatively passive. Do not pay bills, do not work out life problems, and do not plan your workday, save these activities for earlier in the day when you are fresher. Before sleep, choose activities that are pleasant and take very little effort (e.g., television, reading, talking). Go to bed only after you have had a chance to unwind and feel more like sleeping. Use a regular daytime cycle to help with nighttime sleep. Avoid taking naps during the day. Use regular exercise (at least three hours before bedtime) to help increase sleep and induce normal fatigue. Reduce caffeine use (certainly eliminate caffeine use after noon), and be wary of drinking alcohol or smoking within several hours of bedtime. One way to establish a regular time for falling asleep is to have a regular time for waking up. Setting your alarm clock to a reasonable time and maintaining it throughout the week will eventually be helpful in stabilizing your sleep time. Adjust sleep cycle before travel. Traveling across time zones also has the potential to disrupt regular sleep patterns. Whenever possible, gradually adjust your sleep cycle over the course of several days to match that of the new time zone. However, if your travel will be brief, as in a business trip, it might be better to keep to your regular schedule and not switch to the new time zone.
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