Get rid of bad sleep in 15 minutes with this psychiatrist's advice

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Get rid of bad sleep in 15 minutes with this psychiatrist's advice

Just like we eat, drink and breathe, we need sleep to survive. So how can something that should be so natural, instinctive, and automatic be so difficult? Aric Pratherako, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, claims that rumination is the main opponent of sleep.

"As a psychologist who studies sleep for a living, I’ve worked with hundreds of patients to improve their sleep through cognitive behavioral therapy. Through my research, I’ve found that the No. 1 sleep killer isn’t social media or an uncomfortable mattress — it’s rumination," he said.

"Rumination is a sleep-blocker because it keeps your mind aroused, especially in bed, when it’s dark and quiet. Your attention is drawn back, again and again, to this thing that didn’t go well or to regret.

I’ve laid in bed and replayed a dumb comment I made at a party, even though the person I said it to probably forgot it moments later. Negative thoughts and emotions like these are what neuroscientists call “salient” because they are so noticeable and loud."

he added. Rumination cannot be completely turned off by a magic wand. By retrieving moments and memories from your day, your brain consolidates information and builds new synapses. When you have important things to do during the day, you don't have time to play mind games for hours.

Rumination can be eliminated in 15 minutes with these two techniques.

1. Worry early "Set aside 15 minutes during the mid-to late afternoon just for yourself. I call it my “emotional worry” time" he said.

"Make sure you don’t get distracted by anything or anyone else. Some of my patients have locked themselves in the bathroom to avoid being disturbed. Some take a walk outside. Once the timer starts, give yourself the freedom to worry about one topic at a time.

Think of it as a to-do list that you go through one by one, except what you’re checking off are topics you feel the most anxiety about." he added. 2. Practice "constructive worrying" "On a piece of paper, create two columns labeled as “Problem” and “Solution”.

Come up with a short list of current issues you’re dealing with. Focus in particular on what you’re likely to ruminate about tonight." he said. "Under “Solutions,” come up with the next one or two steps you could take to tackle each issue.

Remember, the goal is to chart out a plan for how to get started with actionable steps for tomorrow, or within the next few days. You are not solving it completely. Then fold the paper up and put it next to your bed. Say to yourself: “I have a plan”.

Some people I’ve worked with will even reach out and touch the paper." "It may sound silly, but bearing witness to the fact that you’ve already spent focused energy on these problems can release your mind from puzzling over them at night," he concluded.