By Sally Santos
We all have gone through this. We have had a long day and we can’t wait to get in to bed to rest. But the moment you rest your head on the pillow you find yourself wide awake and staring at the ceiling. So then you ask yourself “why can’t I fall asleep?” Consider these 5 questions:
Do you take your phone to bed?
- We spend all day with our phones tending to every notification that we receive. That can become a habit. So when you bring your phone to bed and you see your phones light up you are going to want to see what it is. So every night before you go to bed try to keep your phone away from your bed or at least set it on Do Not Disturb Mode. This ensures that your phone won’t ring for every notification
How much caffeine are you drinking?
- If you are someone who consumes a lot of caffeine during the day and find yourself not being able to sleep at night consider consuming less caffeine or stop completely.
What do you do during the evening?
- Avoid having a late meal. If you eat right before you go to bed that might keep you awake because your body is working on digesting your food.
- If you are someone who works out try working out earlier because after you work out you may have increased energy and that may prevent you from sleeping at night.
- If possible try avoiding difficult conversations before bed.
How are you using your bed?
- If you are someone who works or studies in bed, you may be confusing your body. Instead of your body associating your bed as a place for rest it is associating it as a place of work.
Is there something specific that you are worried about?
- Maybe you are going through a stressful situation and the thought of it is keeping you up at night. Try learning a relaxation method such as breathing gently or meditation.
- If the situation is serious seek professional help you problem-solve the situation. You might be helped by relaxation techniques, hypnosis or sleep medication.
If you or someone you know is having sleep issues, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.
By Marilyn Wells
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs after alcohol or drug withdrawal, which presents fewer physical withdrawal symptoms, but is more disruptive to an individual emotionally and psychologically. PAWS occurs as a reaction to the individual’s brain returning to a normal state, which can often take up to two years.
Symptoms of PAWS include:
- Rapid/extreme mood swings
- Loss of excitement
- Disrupted sleep
- Variations in energy and concentration
Individuals with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome often experience these symptoms in episodes, which last for several days. During these episodes, individuals often struggle to fight the temptations to relapse. However, with the help of a psychologist, individuals suffering from PAWS can better understand the process their bodies are going through, and learn how to practice methods of relaxation and self-care that will smooth the transition back to a normal life.
The experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.
By: Kristine Dugay
“Get good grades, join sports and clubs, find a part-time job, eat well, and have a social life… but don’t forget to get enough sleep!” These are the unrealistic expectations college students are tired of hearing and trying to achieve. The fact is, 24 hours just isn’t enough time in one day. Stress is a huge underlying factor contributing to depression within college students. 44% of American college students report having some form of mental illness, including depression. However, 75% of these students do not seek help for these problems. Although college life can be hard to handle, there are ways to reduce and manage stress.
Practice time management skills: You will get a feeling of control over your life.
Find humor in your life: Laughter is the best medicine.
Avoid procrastination: It can affect the quality of your mood, work, and sleep.
Practice good sleep habits: Sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental problems.
Work within your limits: Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
Seek the support of your friends and family: Vent sessions relieve tension and stress.
It’s easier said than done to accomplish these “small” tasks. If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with depression, anxiety, or stress, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.
Waking Up Paralyzed
By: Kristine Dugay
Imagine waking up on any given day, you’re conscious, but you can’t move a muscle as if you’re paralyzed. If you find yourself unable to speak or move for a few seconds or minutes upon waking up or falling asleep, there is a great chance that you have sleep paralysis. On average, four out of every ten people may have sleep paralysis, and both men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. This condition occurs one of two times. If it happens as you are falling asleep, it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it occurs as you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. Though it may run in families, factors that may be linked to the condition include lack of sleep, sleep schedule changes, mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder, narcolepsy, certain medications, and substance abuse.
While being in this state of mind is extremely frightening, there is no need to treat this condition. Sleep paralysis is usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. Although treatment depends on severity, the main way of treating sleep paralysis is improving your sleeping habits. However, treatment can also include treating any mental health problems that may contribute to sleep paralysis or using antidepressant medication if it is prescribed to help regulate sleep cycles. Sleep paralysis is most commonly found in those who are narcoleptic or have sleep apnea, but unfortunately it can affect anyone. Common symptoms include anxiety, hallucinations, and paralysis.
If you feel your symptoms cause anxiety, leave you very tired throughout the day, or keep you up during the night, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.
Sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis#2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/basics/symptoms/con-20027429
Regardless whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, a good night’s rest is extremely important for everyone. With midterms around the corner, students often engage in all nighters to study and completely disregard their body’s need for sleep. When people get seven or less hours of sleep, the effects can be detrimental to both their body and mind. When you are sleep deprived, your overall cognitive abilities become impaired due to your brain becoming exhausted. When people become sleep deprived, they have a lot more difficulty learning new things and both their long and short term memory are negatively affected.
A common side effect of sleep deprivation is micro sleep—when a person falls asleep for a few seconds or minutes and does not realize it. Micro sleep is completely out of people’s control if they are sleep deprived, regardless of their caffeine consumption, and can result in life threatening outcomes when driving. If people’s sleep deprivation continues long enough they are at an increased risk of experiencing hallucinations. For those previously suffering from manic depression, sleep deprivation is also known to trigger mania. Other mental risks include depression, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts.
Sleep is also necessary for a person’s immune systems to properly function. When people are sleep deprived their body will become more susceptible to catching viruses, developing respiratory problems, and will take longer to recover from illness. If you are sleep deprived for a long enough time, you are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have found that sleep deprivation is also associated with weight gain, and a higher risk for obesity. So before you decide to pull an all nighter for that exam, remember that your health and safety needs to come first!
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment.
Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.
By: Margalit I. Herzfeld
By: Nicole Bieniasz
Are you sleeping eight hours every night? Consider yourself lucky! Our fast-paced environment has fooled us into believing we can successfully function with almost no sleep. What some people forget is that an adequate amount of sleep is necessary for maintaining positive mental and physical health because our bodies repair and restore themselves at that time. Interfering with this restoration by cutting back on sleep will eventually take a toll on an individual because the brain is not taking in new information or strengthening memories. Here are some examples of how shorter hours of sleep take a toll on our brains and affect functioning:
1. Slower Thought Process: Sleeping less than the 8 average hours necessary causes lower alertness and concentration, which impairs judgment. Making decisions and judging situations is very prominent and important in the workplace and at home.
2. Impaired Memory: When individuals do not allow their brains to restore during sleep, the nerve connections that are responsible for memories are not strengthened.
3. Difficulty Learning: Slower thought processing and difficulty learning restricts the individual from picking up any new information, which is essential for learning.
4. Problems with Mood: Lack of sleep not only hurts work performance and relationships, it is also capable of leading to problems with mood. Depression and anxiety are linked to poor sleeping habits.
To avoid these problems, here are some ways to get a good night sleep:
- Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
- Avoid heavy meals before bed
- Minimize caffeine intake especially 6 hours prior to sleep
- Minimize hot and cold temperatures, noise, and light when going to bed
- Develop a regular bedtime
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have trouble sleeping, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.