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7 Guidelines for Overcoming Sleep Difficulties by Maram Barak, M.A.

Updated: Nov 3

Have trouble falling asleep or maintaining sleep?

Here are 7 guidelines that can help you overcome those difficulties and get your body adjusted - especially for this weekend when we "fall back" 1 hour for daylight saving time!

  1. Wake up at the same time every day, whether you have a good or poor sleep on any particular night.

  2. Go to bed when you are sleepy, not when you are tired. Long periods of time in bed will lead to shallow, broken sleep.

  3. Get up when you can’t sleep. When you are unable to sleep for 10 to 15 minutes, get up and go to another room until you feel sleepy enough to fall asleep quickly before returning to bed.

  4. Use the bed only for sleeping. Do not read, eat, watch TV, etc. in bed. Intimacy is the only exception.

  5. Avoid daytime napping. Napping, particularly in the late afternoon or early evening may interfere with your night's sleep.

  6. Create a buffer zone. The "buffer zone" is a quiet time prior to bedtime. During this time you should do things that are enjoyable and calming, not activating.

  7. Don’t worry plan, etc. in bed. If you are worrying, planning, or can’t shut off thoughts, get up and stay up until you can return to bed without these mental activities interfering with your sleep.

Maram Barakat, M.A., is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has a master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a special focus on global mental health and research methods. She is primarily interested in providing access to quality mental health services in low-to-middle income countries and vulnerable populations. She is especially passionate about working with survivors of abuse and violence. In fact, she has integrated her passion with her academic interests by focusing her master's thesis on culturally adapting and implementing cognitive processing therapy to Syrian refugee women who have experienced sexual violence during and post-displacement. Maram has worked as a mental health professional and advocate in Lebanon, Uganda, and New York for the past six years. At the Lukin Center, Maram will be taking on the role of social media manager. Her main responsibilities entail managing and monitoring the center's social media platforms, creating content, increasing engagement, and more. Apart from her professional interests, she enjoys acting, karaoke, and extreme sports.

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