Zzzzzzz’s (Contributed by Teresa Cheng)

Please excuse the lack of blogs written by Teresa Cheng – due to my hike, it’s proven more difficult than expected for the two of us to communicate/edit, etc. 

My blogs are meant to provide tools so that you can choose the right thing to help you achieve happiness and success in your active lifestyle. Arm yourself with them so you can use in whatever scenario comes up as an active women. With patience, practice and persistence you will be successful.

Sleep is essential for optimal health. It is a common theme in the healthcare field to hear our clients and / or patients report that they don’t get enough restful sleep. One of the most often heard comment is “I just can’t fall asleep”. The entire night, they go through this vicious cycle of clock watching and getting angry. (They get especially angry at their bed partner who is snoring away). Ultimately, barely a wink of sleep is achieved.

Here are 13 sleep commandments that I got from Dr. Anna Borowska, Psychiatrist, physician at St. Paul’s hospital’s Sleep Disorder Clinic in Vancouver, BC.

13 commandments of sleep – From: November 2nd, 2013 Pain BC’s 2013 Interdisciplinary Pain Conference, Burnaby, BC.

  1.     No caffeine 8 hours before bed
  2.     No alcoholic beverages
  3.     No smoking (stimulant)
  4.     Wind down 1 hour before bed
  5.     Examples: watch movie with low light, soak in a bath.
  6.     Don’t go to bed until feeling sleepy (ie) no set bedtime
  7.     Get out of bed exactly at the same time daily with an alarm. (This is to keep sleep hormones normal)
  8.     Make a conducive bed atmosphere
  9.     Ear plugs to eliminate noise if light sleeper (maybe consider custom ear plugs)
  10.     Fan (background noise)
  11.     Bed only for sex and sleep
  12.     Don’t lie awake in bed. Get up and read (no computer or ipads).
  13. Don’t watch the clock…. AT ALL. Put a towel or turn the clock around to not be tempted to peek.
  14. No rests or naps during the day. Includes not lying down in bed as the goal is to associate horizontal body position with sleeping.
  15. Exercise at least 30 minutes 3 x per week
  16. Don’t hit the snooze button – can causes sleep inertia (feeling tired or “mini snoozes” later in the day).

The trick to these 13 sleep commandments is that all rules have to be observed and for at least 2-3 weeks. Remember, sleep is hormone based (like all functions in our body) and it takes time for our hormones to reset. Some people need to stick to this regiment their entire life. Dr. Borowska reported during the conference that she gives these 13 sleep commandments to all of her clients to trial first before attempting more aggressive sleep interventions. Consult with your family physician and they can also help prescribe medication for sleep, again, to help with regulate those sleep hormones.

Good luck and sweet dreams!!

Teresa Cheng, Occupational Therapist

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