Alaska Sleep Education Center

How Art Therapy Can Help You Sleep Better

Posted by Jane Sandwood on Sep 22, 2021 5:49:00 AM

Closeup of paintbrush in woman hands mixing paints on palette.

Art therapy is recognized as an effective way to boost mental wellness, and currently, it is being used to treat various mental disorders, such as psychological distress, anxiety and depression. Moreover, it has been found to be particularly effective in difficult times, and in 2020, a survey found that over 50 percent of art therapists continued to report to work amidst the health crisis to help those who need mental health support. But did you know that doing art can also help you to get better sleep?

Studies indicate that engaging in artistic activities can help those with sleep disorders get a good night's rest. If you're one of the millions of people who can't seem to get some shut eye, here's what you need to know about art therapy and how it can help you sleep better.

It can relieve stress

Stress and sleeplessness go hand and hand, and being under constant stress can result in decreased sleep duration and reduced REM sleep. Taking time to de-stress can help to ease tension and make you feel less anxious, which in turn, can help you to fall asleep faster. Doing mindful activities like yoga and meditation can help to relieve stress, but so can creative activities such as drawing. Get a sketchpad and a pencil and try drawing a bird in flight, a duck on the water, or other simple shapes.

You can also try drawing what you feel as a way to unload whatever it is that is stressing you out at the moment. Doing so allows you to express the emotions that are difficult to put into words. Letting your emotions out on paper can be liberating, and once you've poured out all the fears, doubts, and other negative emotions, you'll find that you feel much better, you'll start enjoying yourself, and you'll feel less worried so you can sleep better. 

It can be a part of your bedtime routine

Having a bedtime routine is essential to a good night's sleep since consistent, repetitive activities done before bedtime can help you unwind and prepare your mind and body to get the sleep that you need. Doing simple art activities, such as coloring, can be calming. Moreover, it's a great way to practice mindfulness, which will enable you to fall asleep faster and get a deep and restful sleep every night. Try doing 15 to 20 minutes of coloring every night. You can download a print from the Internet to color, or work on beautifully illustrated coloring books for adults, such as those made by Johanna Basford, Hanna Karlzon, or the Romantic Country coloring books by Eriy. Colored pencils are the best coloring tools to use for adult coloring books, but you may also use crayons, markers, or gel pens. 

Art therapy can help you relax and unwind so you can catch some zzzs. Don't think of it as a task-- view art activities as a way to relax so you can enjoy what you're doing and get the benefits of whatever creative activity you decide to do. Try drawing or coloring for a few minutes before bedtime, and see how engaging in artistic activities can help improve your sleep. 

What to do if you suspect you have a sleep disorder

With over 80 listed sleep disorders, and more that are being researched, it's important for patients suffering from the various types of sleep disorders to seek medical treatment. If you believe that your sleep problems may be caused by a disorder, there are many things you can do to solve your sleep issues from DIY tips and tricks such as practicing better sleep hygiene, to contacting a sleep clinic to schedule an inlab sleep study, or an at home sleep test for certain pre-screened disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.

If you live in Alaska and think you may be suffering from one of the many sleep disorders listed above, you can take advantage of a free 10-minute phone consultation with the Alaska Sleep Clinic where one of our trained sleep specialists can help determine whether or not you need to have a sleep study to diagnose your condition. To get this free offer click on the link below or call us today  @ 907-420-0540.

Chronic Drowsiness

Topics: therapies, sleep hygiene, CPAP therapy

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