Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2) -Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or not be able to get back to sleep. In this week’s segment of “Centers Solutions: COVID Edition,” Kristi Edwards and Melanie Saiz explain how to treat insomnia, and how it can impact your mental health.

“Any time that our sleep is disrupted, it can affect the levels of the neurotransmitters, and can increase your stress hormones. It can wreck havoc in the brain, impairing emotional and thought regulation, so once again, if you’re really tired, and you get really cranky, there’s a reason that little kids are like, ‘Oh they’re cranky, they just need a nap.’ It is because it helps us with our regulation,” says Centers Executive Director Kristi Edwards.

Edwards also says a lack of sleep can cause poor memory, and aggravate current disorders like anxiety and depression. But Melanie Saiz explains that there are ways to try and get better sleep.

“Lifestyle changes can help. Cutting down on caffeine, alcohols, and nicotine, your three culprits. Increasing physical activity during the day. Regular exercise helps us fall into that deep sleep because we’re tired at night. Create a sleep hygiene routine. It’s just basically a practice, and it’s what makes you happy. That can be comfy pajamas, that could be an eye mask, that could be white sound machines, lavender scents, no screen time for an hour to 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Maybe try some meditation or yoga, deep breathing exercises, whatever makes you feel like you’re going to be really rested before you lay your head on your pillow,” says Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.

If those tips don’t help get a better sleep, there’s an option that Centers offers. It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Edwards says it’s a structured program that helps change your negative expectations or thoughts into a more positive light.

” Once again, we start as saying, ‘I’m never going to be able to go to sleep, I have so much trouble going to sleep, it’s just never going to happen.’ Or, ‘ If I do fall asleep, I know I’m going to wake up.’ So we get caught in these very negative thought patterns. So what we’ll do is we’ll challenge some of those, saying,’ You have had good sleep before, and you will have good sleep again, okay?’ So sometimes medication is necessary. If it becomes a really serious issue, your therapist can talk to you about some kind of medication and get you to your doctor for that,” says Edwards.

Edwards and Saiz say it’s okay to ask for help, especially right now with the pandemic. They say not getting enough sleep can hinder your performance in so many parts of your life.For more information about insomnia and how it impacts your mental health, contact Centers, or head to their website to listen to their podcast.