I am Lindsay Wright, and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and serve as one of the Behavioral Health Counselors at the Telluride Medical Center. I work with families, couples and individuals of many different ages and backgrounds.
At this time, many people are experiencing stress and worry related to the many changes we are experiencing, so the Behavioral Health Department wanted to provide resources for staying well-rested and getting good sleep despite our current stressors.
As you may know, sleep impacts both our mental and physical health.
When we are not sleeping well, we can negatively impact our immune systems, our memory and ability to focus, and can heighten feelings of anxiety and depression, and when we are feeling stressed, disruptions in sleep are often one of the first signs that can indicate that something is wrong.
The average adult needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, and teens and children need more than this.
So what can we do to make sure that we’re getting the hours we need?
First, we can set guidelines for our wake times & our bed times, as we know that sticking to a schedule during unpredictable times can help to provide a sense of normalcy. Keep in mind that how we spend our days can impact our sleep, so throughout our day, take time to be outdoors and to get exercise, as this can help us to feel well-rested at night.
It is also important to keep a balanced diet, and avoiding caffeine or excess sugar throughout the day. Limit your media consumption, and find ways to connect with those you care about.
Once it is time to go to bed, make sure that you are practicing good sleep hygiene, and engage in a relaxation routine prior to getting into bed.
This relaxation routine is meant to give yourself time to wind down from the day, and can be made up of completing necessary tasks such as washing your face and brushing your teeth, but also tasks that lead you to feeling calm, such as reading, taking a bath, writing, meditating, listening to calming music, or doing yoga.
During the hour prior to bed, try and decrease your usage of screens, as this can be overly stimulating to our brains as we are trying to quiet them for the night.
When it is time to sleep, make sure that your sleep space is dark, cool & quiet. Engage in a mindfulness activity, such as box breath, breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, exhaling for 4 seconds, and pausing for 4 seconds, in order to quiet your mind and prepare for sleep.
If you find that your mind racing or filled with worries frequently, it may be useful to engage in journaling for a set period of time earlier in the day.
I hope these tips help, and that you all are sleeping well. This is a challenging time for all of us, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support.
I can be reached by calling the Telluride Medical Center at 970-728-3848, or if you are a patient of Telluride Medical Center, by messaging me through the Telluride Medical Center portal.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call The Center for Mental Health’s crisis line at 970.252.6220.
Lindsay Wright | Behavioral Health
Telluride Medical Center