It’s so important to get good sleep. There was a time when we believed that the brain just shut off during sleep, but that’s very far from the truth. Learning is integrated, hormones are produced, toxins are cleared out, and much more, all functions that happen during sleep.
Sleep is a primary need
During a sleep healthcare certification course I took from Ed O’Malley, PhD, several years ago, I saw a photograph of forest fire fighters in full regalia, sound asleep on the ground with fire still burning around them. Near their heads! The need for sleep had taken over. Sleep is a primary need, just like air, food and water.
So, what to do if you’re not getting enough sleep and it’s not just because you don’t put yourself in your bed for enough hours?
Look at improving your sleep hygiene. You can do a search for guidelines, but you’re also welcome to email me and I’ll send you a handout. Sometimes very simple changes can greatly improve sleep. Sleep problems can be a consequence of eating too late at night, too much light in the bedroom, and other relatively easy to change factors. Medication side effects or the time of day a medication is taken can contribute to problems with sleep. (If this last one is you, see your doctor to find out what adjustments can be made.)
Training with NeurOptimal® Dynamical Neurofeedback® can improve sleep management and sleep habits. My clients who come hoping to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more soundly, and awaken refreshed generally find that happening. Sleep is such a primary need, I often think that the brain takes what it learns in the sessions and uses it to prioritize first for sleep.
And… when sleep gets better, so many things get better.
Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW-R
New York Neurofeedback