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SO YOU CANT SLEEP Powered By Docstoc
					     SO You
   CAN’T sLEEP ?
If you’re in jail or prison, probably at some point in
time you will have trouble getting a good night’s
sleep. It happens to almost everybody. The first
thing you need to know is, it’s not a fatal condition!
You can relax – basically, no one ever died just from
a lack of sleep.

So far as psychologists can tell, if you don’t sleep
well (or even don’t sleep at all) for several days on
end, the worst that will happen is that you will be less
alert to what’s going on around you, you will have
more trouble remembering things than usual, and you
will become easily irritated by people or
circumstances. (The same kind of things that in the
freeworld would make you yell at the baby, cuss the
dog or throw things around). But if you know ahead
of time that these things are going to happen, you can
take steps to handle it – you can pay closer attention,
jot things down if you need to remember them, and
most importantly, stay out of other peoples’ way.

 So Rule # 1 is: Don’t ―try‖ to go to sleep – the
harder you ―try‖ the more anxious you will get and
the harder it will be to go to sleep. Just relax……it
will be okay.

There are some techniques you can use to help yourself
    go to sleep more easily, but most people don’t really
    know these techniques very well. Once you have
    read this booklet, you will be ahead of other people in
    that area – but before we explain the specific
    techniques, it might help to know more about why
    you are having trouble sleeping. Here are some
    possible reasons:

You’re too worried. Almost everybody in jail or prison is
        worried about something. You may be worried                   Produced by
        about who your wife or husband is with while
        you’re in here. You worry about being jumped               David King, Ph.D.
        by other inmates. You worry about losing your
        job; about losing your pickup truck; about what       Physicians Network Association
        your mother is going to think; about how much                 1622 6th Street
        time you’re going to have to do; about whether             Lubbock, TX 79413
        the CO is going to do something to cross you
        out; but mostly about what your husband/wife    
        boyfriend/girlfriend is doing when you’re not
        there. These worries tend to go around and
        around in your head and even when you know
        there’s no use thinking about them, your brain
        just won’t shut off. Unfortunately, most of the
        things you worry about are going to be totally
        out of your control. If you can decide not to
        worry about things you can’t do anything about,
        you will be one giant step ahead, and on your
        way to being able to relax…
#12 Relaxation exercises. If you have trouble getting your        You’re too wired. Emotionally, fear and anxiety and
        body to relax, there are helpful exercises you can do.             excitement are all similar to worry in their effect on
        The general idea is simply to tighten up different                 your sleep. They all get your adrenalin going and
        groups of muscles and then relax them, starting from               keep your brain wired up so that you can’t relax.
        your head and working toward your toes.                            You may be afraid that your cellie is going to do
                                                                           something to you when you go to sleep. You may be
         Squinch up the muscles in your face and ears and                  really angry at what the officer said to you or the way
        mouth, and hold it that way until your face gets tired,            he said it. Or you might even be excited about
        then let the muscles relax and go limp. Breathe                    something that’s going to happen tomorrow – a big
        deeply and very slowly and rest a little. Do this                  basketball game, or a court date, or a unit transfer. It
        twice. Then tighten the muscles in your shoulders,                 can be something positive or something negative, but
        hold it and hold it as long as you can, then let them              anything that gets you excited will make it difficult
        relax. Breathe deeply and slowly and get relaxed                   for you to sleep, because your body can’t
        again. Do this twice. Then do the same thing with                  relax………
        your chest and arms… then your stomach… then
        your legs… then your feet and ankles… then your           You’re too “stoked,” chemically. The biggest problem drugs
        toes… breathing slowly and deeply and getting very                for most people in jail or prison are caffeine and
        comfortable and relaxed in between. Do the whole                  nicotine, because those also get your adrenalin going.
        series of muscles from top to bottom twice. Then get              Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cokes, energy drinks,
        in bed and relax both your mind and your                          and chocolate (either candy or drinks). Nicotine is in
        body…………….                                                        cigarettes and other tobacco products. There are
                                                                          medicines that do it, too – mainly asthma drugs, like
                                                                          theophyllin or inhalers; prednisone; some blood
                       and go to sleep…………..                              pressure pills; several antidepressants; and most
                                                                          ―cold-buster‖ pills. If you’re not sure about the side
                                                                          effects of whatever meds you’re taking, just ask your
                                                                          doctor. Also, if you have been taking barbiturates
                                                                          (downers like phenobarb) or benzodiazepines (like
                                                                          Valium or Librium) for a long time, and have just
                                                                          recently stopped, you can expect 4-6 weeks of
                                                                          disturbed sleep as a result of going off those drugs.
                                                                          Naturally, if you are doing any kind of speed (like
                                                                          cocaine or meth) or are detoxing from just about
                                                                          anything addictive, you will have really poor sleep
                                                                          for quite a while until your body readjusts.
You’re too sick. Any illness that produces fever is likely to   #9 Thought stopping. If you have trouble keeping the
    make it hard to sleep. Fever by itself often gives people          negative thoughts out of the way and they just
    nightmares. But a sore throat, stopped up nose, upset              keep coming, you can use a technique which
    stomach, aching back or legs, or other illness (whether            many people find really works, even though it
    chronic or acute), can make for disturbed sleep as a side          may sound dumb. When you notice that you are
    effect of the illness.                                             thinking negative thoughts, just yell to yourself,
                                                                       in your mind (not out loud), ―Stop!‖ That will
You’re too fat. Some persons who are overweight have                   stop the flow of thoughts for a little while, and
   trouble breathing at night and may snore a lot or may               you can then pick something positive to think
   get what is called ―sleep apnea,‖ where they actually               about and go with that instead. There is also
   stop breathing from time to time during the night.                  another technique which allows you to crowd out
   It’s usually not really life-threatening, but if you stop           the negative thoughts rather than stopping them
   breathing, you may wake up suddenly as your body                    cold. To do that, pick out a single simple word
   tries to gasp for air. If you are significantly                     of your choice (such as ―the‖ or ―home‖ or ―one‖
   overweight, and that is what is keeping you from a                  or whatever you like) and repeat it to yourself
   good night’s rest, a diet is probably in order.                     approximately 2 times per second until you go to
                                                                       sleep. This prevents negative thoughts from
You’ve damaged your brain. Not too much is known                       coming in – if you do notice that you are
   about this, but it seems that if you have done a lot of             thinking something negative, just switch
   drugs or alcohol in your time, you may have                         immediately back to saying your word, and keep
   damaged enough brain cells that your brain doesn’t                  on going. Sometimes just listening to the radio
   work right any more, and it may not be possible for                 through your headphones can also block out
   you to sleep well until your brain has had a chance to              thoughts.
   detox and recover. In most cases it can recover and
   become normal again, but it means you have to stop           #10 Try to stay awake. A simple but very effective
   the drinking or drugging, or else it won’t have a                   technique that very few people know about is to
   chance.                                                             go to bed, relax….. and then try to see how long
                                                                       you can stay awake.
You’re a “night owl.” Most people like to stay up all day
    and sleep at night, but some people just naturally feel     #11 Exercise. Exercise early in the day is good — it will
    better if they sleep during the day and stay up at                 make your body tired and ready to rest. Exercise
    night. Your sleep schedule may not fit in well with a              within 2 hours of going to bed, however, is bad
    jail or prison routine of ―lights out‖ at night. Most              — it will get the adrenalin going and that will
    people can change their routine over a period of a                 keep you awake until everything in your body
    few months to adjust to either schedule, but you may               settles down again. Working out in your cell, or
    have to use some of the techniques in this booklet                 at rec, or even doing some yoga exercises or
    until your body’s clock resets itself.                             walking around a track or basketball court has a
                                                                       lot of other benefits (losing weight, breathing
                                                                       better) that can help improve your sleep, too.
                                                                Your schedule sucks. If you have a job assignment
#7 Schedule your worry time. You certainly have plenty to               that requires you to get up at 2:00a.m. and
       worry about. But if you let your worries get out of              get off just in time for lunch, or you have to
       control, they will take over your life and you won’t             wake up for pill call or breakfast at 4:00a.m.
       be able to do anything else. So when you have things             then go to work at 8:00a.m., you may be out
       that you need to worry about, set aside a certain                of luck for a while. Again, your body can
       specific time each day to devote to thinking about               adjust to the different schedule, but for most
       those issues (for example, deciding if there is                  people it takes weeks or even months, and in
       anything you can do about them or not). First thing              the meantime it will be tough. But if you
       when you wake up in the morning is a good time, or               stick with the schedule long enough and use
       it can be while you’re on some simple job like                   some of the techniques in this booklet, you
       sweeping the halls, or it could be during count time,            can do it,and then you’ll be able to
       just whatever works for you. Make up your mind                   relax……..
       that you will do all your worrying during that hour or
       two only, and if some worries pop up into your mind
       during any other time of the day, just set them off      Remember –
       until your next scheduled worry session, so as to keep
       them from infecting the rest of your day. Make sure      The point is, if you can figure out why you are
       that you do not schedule this worry session just                having trouble sleeping, you can hopefully
       before you want to go to sleep, or it won’t work at             figure out how to fix it. Sometimes poor
       all….keep it early in the day.                                  sleep is a result of a mental illness like
                                                                       Bipolar Disorder or Depressive Disorder –
#8 Think good thoughts. When you are ready to go to sleep,             but there will be other symptoms that go
       it is very helpful to spend some time on pleasant,              along with it. If you think you have a
       soothing thoughts. It’s time to put away thoughts               mental illness, you should contact the
       about being in prison or jail, and time to escape to            mental health staff in your facility.
       some place and time that you really loved – maybe
       something you did in childhood, a special vacation
       you took, a secret lover, a Spring day, your most
       favorite Christmas, whatever. Get a picture of that
       event or person in your mind, and keep your thoughts
       and the images focused on that positive experience
       and relax with it……enjoy the fantasy; maybe even
       make it better! Many people are able to move from
       having such a fantasy right into dreaming about the
       same thing in their dreams, which also makes for a
       much more pleasant night’s sleep. If you find it
       slipping away from you, just start over again in your
       mind and stick with the positive images.
                                                              #4 Stick to a schedule. As much as possible, pick a good
#1 You’re right – Relax! Don’t worry about it! Sooner                 schedule for going to bed and for getting up, and stay
      or later, you will go to sleep. That’s just the way             with it religiously. It helps if you have a little ritual
      the human body is made. It might be while                       of doing the same thing before you go to bed, such as
      you’re watching TV, or you’re in class, or at                   watch the news, read your Bible or Koran, or take a
      rec…..but sooner or later, you will go to sleep!                shower. For a couple of months, do your best to get
      In most cases it really isn’t in your best interest             up and go to sleep at the same time at least 5 nights a
      to take sleeping pills or medicine in order to                  week. It’s better if you do it on Saturday and Sunday
      sleep. Although they may knock you out for a                    nights, too, but if you want to you can relax on
      while, in many cases when you stop taking them                  that….it’s not a big deal.
      you will have even worse sleep problems than
      you did before (and you don’t want to take              #5 Lighting. Because the human body and brain respond to
      sleeping pills for the rest of your life). If the              levels of light, like daylight and dark, or summer and
      medical department at your jail or prison is really            winter, you can sometimes improve your sleep by
      good, they will probably give you this booklet                 controlling the lighting you are exposed to.
      and tell you to try all these things before they               Specifically, if there is any way to accomplish it, it is
      even think about giving you sleeping pills. So                 best to expose yourself to high levels of light in the
      you should try these things, pretty much in this               morning hours (go outside to rec or go to a brightly-
      order, until you find what works for you.                      lit dayroom or chow-hall), and to avoid the bright
                                                                     lights in favor of darker areas in the evenings. Being
#2 Don’t Take Naps! There are very few things that will              in a bright dayroom right up until you want to go to
      ruin a good night’s sleep more than taking a nap               sleep may cause problems, so it’s better to go to your
      or naps during the day. If necessary, force                    house and turn out the lights, or at least turn down
      yourself to stay awake until lights out or the                 whatever light sources you can, at least 30 minutes
      noise dies down. Just do whatever you have to                  before getting ready to go to sleep.
      do to stay awake until you are ready and actually
      wanting to go to sleep. Then you can close your         #6 Don’t try to force it. If you go to bed and can’t get to
      eyes and relax…….                                             sleep within 15 minutes, just get out of bed and do
                                                                    something else until you do start to feel sleepy.
#3 Stay out of bed until you’re ready to sleep. In many             Don’t get frustrated – that’s about the worst thing you
       situations, your bunk may be your desk, your                 could do. Remember, it’s not that big a deal if you
       couch, or your kitchen. But if there is any way              don’t go to sleep right away. You won’t go crazy if
       possible, you should not lie down on your bunk               you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t have a
       unless/until you are ready to sleep. If you have to          breakdown, you won’t feel horrible………sooner or
       use your bunk to sit on, be sure you sit on it only,         later, you will go to sleep. It may not be until
       and don’t lie on it when you have no intention of            2:00a.m., but that’s okay. Don’t add that to your list
       going to sleep. Ideally, your bed should be for              of worries -- just get out of bed and read or draw or
       sex and sleep only, and of course, sex is not                do something else until you get sleepy, then get back
       allowed…….                                                   in bed and then you can relax…….

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