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Sleeping Tips for Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), chances are you might be sleeping too much. Or perhaps, you aren’t sleeping enough. As silly as it may seem, sleep problems can wreck all kinds of havoc on our lives, and they need to be dealt with.

We all require different amounts of sleep. In order to find out how many hours you need, you can try this week-long experiment. Note – If you are experiencing SAD right now, wait until you are feeling better to try this exercise. Also, do not drink, smoke, take sleeping aids, or consume caffeine during this time, as it will alter your results.

First, decide what time you want or need to get up in the mornings. Set your alarm clock for that time. When it goes off, get up! Don’t allow yourself to hit the snooze button or remain in bed.

Throughout the day, stay awake. Don’t take a nap. Then, when you feel tired at night, head to bed. Don’t go to bed before you are tired; otherwise, you will just lay there.

After seven days of this, look to see how much sleep you got in the past 2-3 days. That’s probably about the right amount of sleep for you.

How Can I Get Myself Out of Bed?

If you have SAD, you’re probably having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Here are some tips to help you wake up and go about your day:

• Get the right alarm clock. You may wake up more easily to music, or you may need an annoying buzzing sound.
• Put the alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
• Open the curtains. This allows the sun to come in, which helps wake people up.
• Stick to a regular schedule. Our bodies adapt to routines, so going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will help you wake up naturally.
• Make your mornings simple. Get clothes out the night before, get things ready for work, etc.
• Exercise. Do some stretches or simple exercises to get your blood going.
• Take a cold shower, or simply splash your face with cold water.

If you’re experiencing SAD, there may be days when you feel like you need more sleep. However, getting more sleep than you need can actually make you feel worse, so try to stick to your schedule.

But What If I Can’t Fall Asleep or Get Back to Sleep After I Wake Up?

Here are some tips to help you when you find yourself wide awake in bed.

• Stick to a regular schedule. This will help your body naturally know when it’s time to go to bed.
• Prepare your sleeping space. Make sure your bed is comfortable, and keep the room dark, quiet, and cool.
• Watch what you eat before bed. While a small snack is okay, try to avoid big meals.
• Relax. Find a way to let go of the day’s stress – read, put together a puzzle, play soft music, or take a bath.
• Be careful when you exercise. You don’t want to do your regular aerobic exercise right before bed. This will wake your body up instead of helping you fall asleep.


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