Current Events Got You Up At Night? These Sleep Tips Might Help

If you're struggling with getting sleep, you're not alone

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Whether it's the fall out from the coronavirus pandemic or the powerful emotions intertwined with the demonstrations for equality, North Texans have plenty of reasons keeping them up at night.

Dr. Brandy Roane, psychologist and sleep specialist at UNT Health Science Center said the problem isn't necessarily anxiety keeping you up at night. It's the physiological response to fear.

She said it triggers our sympathetic system in our nervous system.

It deals with fight-flight-freeze reactions.

The sympathetically triggered state brings strategies of confrontation, avoidance in an attempt to resolve the danger.

It overrides the parasympathetic system which acts as a “brake” to reduce activation and facilitate relaxation.

The parasympathetic system helps our body prepare for sleep by lowering our blood pressure and core body temperature.

"It means that our body isn't going to be doing the things that help promote sleep," said Dr. Roane.

There are things that can help.

Roane suggests journaling or doing a "brain dump" at night.

A brain dump is simply the act of dumping all the contents of your mind onto paper.

"This helps reduce the amount of time you're focusing on them, ruminating on them," said Roane.

Turn your bedroom into a sleep environment by an oscillating fan for white noise or downloading a white noise app on your phone.

Blackout curtains can also help.

She said whether you get nine hours or six hours of slumber, Roane said consistency is key.

"Sleep is paramount to your physical and mental health. It helps with repairing your body physically, ensuring you're preapred to do the task you need, cognitive tasks included. It also helps to protect against mental health conditions if you're sleeping sufficiently," said Roane.

Check out Bianca's story on how to reprogram your dreams.

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