We learned a bit about insomnia (inability to fall asleep or stay asleep) due to mental illness (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc) in Health Psychology this term. While treating the underlying mental illness is key in correcting the insomnia, as naturopathic doctors, we can also teach our patients about sleep hygiene. I've talked about sleep hygiene before on the blog, but in my Health Psyc notes, we learned some even stricter sleep hygiene principles that can be used to help get our patient sleeping at night! In addition to following those recommendations previously discussed on the blog (here and here), the patient should...
- Avoid all screens after 7 PM. No television, cell phones, or computers. The back-light of these electronics stimulate our sympathetic nervous system, our 'flight or fight' heightened response.
- Avoid reading anything work related in the evening. It may be triggering stress!
- Avoid evening exercise. Complete daily exercise in the afternoon or morning. Evening exercise may 'wind you up'.
- Aim to accomplish one or two household tasks each day. It will get the 'nesting vibes' flowing, will output some energy (increasing bedtime fatigue), and will keep the house in tidier, potentially more relaxing space.
- Complete a trial period without any coffee or caffeine. Because we all know caffeine keeps us awake...
While studying Radiology this morning, I came across this nifty chart that shows some common causes of radiation. Ionizing radiation is the worst; in fact, we were given this chart to help us understand why X-rays (ionizing radiation) and other forms of imaging should only be performed when the patient's case and diagnostic guidelines warrant it. Don't be X-raying your patients all willy nilly! There must be specific presentations and patient identifiers (gender, age, body type, etc) for these types of procedures.