Monday, July 22, 2013

SOTH Stepping Stones: Restoring A Healthy Sleep Pattern

by Soraya Grant

Scammers manipulate their victims' sleep patterns as a means of psychological manipulation. One of the first stepping stones on the road to recovery is getting a decent amount of sleep once again. Sleep is vital to overall mental and physical health. Restoring a healthy sleep pattern will make it easier to cope with the scam and heal.

Remove Traces of the Scam from Your Home With Special Attention to Your Bedroom

Immediately following the discovery of the scam, you deleted, ignored, and/or blocked all the scammer's accounts from all of your accounts. Repeat the process with every other web site or document that reminds you of the scam. Get rid of pictures they sent, web pages you visited because of them, lists you made because of them, even statuses from your social networking sites that are related to them. Once the computer is cleaned of all things scammer related, go over the rest of your living area,paying special attention to your sleeping area. Any teddy bears or other plush toys they sent you should be taken to the thrift store or local charity of your choice, as should any little symbols you purchased to represent the relationship that turned out to be a scam such as perfumes, night lights, statues, or posters. Include sleepwear. If you bought fancy silk pajamas to wear the first time your boyfriend or girlfriend spent the night, dig your old pajamas out of the drawer or donation box and donate the silk set. Do everything you can to remove all traces of the scam, but don't add to your own stress. Do the best you can. If you bought a whole new bed and bedroom set, it may not be possible to just haul it to the thrift store and buy a new one right now. Just make sure that anything that is kept stays behind only because you cannot afford to replace it right now, and not because you are attached to it.

Reclaim Your Evening Routine

Your body clock was reset by the scammer. You always watched a movie on DVD before bed, then crawled in and drifted off. Once the scammer began manipulating you, your routine changed to spending three hours chatting with them and going to bed an hour later. Dive back in to your DVD collection. If you still cannot sleep, do something you find relaxing with that extra time. Make sure it is something you truly find relaxing. The traditional hot bath, clean pajamas, and a cup of chamomile tea works for some people. Other people would rather play with pets, write out their schedule for the next day, or clean out a drawer. The only rule is that nothing you do can be related to the scammer; don't log on to the site where you met them, watch the television show the two of you talked about, or look at recipes you were planning to cook when you thought someone would be visiting you. Try to gradually cut back on the extra time spent awake until the evening routine you had before you ever met the scammer feels natural to you again.

Repeat the Process with Your Morning Routine

The scammer may have insisted you get up early to chat. Or maybe you got up early to get ahead on work so you could log on to chat with them in the evenings. Get up at the time you used to get up before you ever met the scammer. Resist the urge to get out of bed if you wake up at the earlier time. Even if you need to get up to use the bathroom, go back to your bed and lay back down until your normal waking time. Having a book to read, a television channel to watch, or some music to listen to as a way to keep you occupied if you do not fall back to sleep might be beneficial. Once it is time to get up, revert to the morning routine you had before you met the scammer.

Give Yourself a Relaxing Gift

Consider giving yourself a gift designed to help you sleep. If you have absolutely no money to spare, take an hour online and build yourself a folder full of relaxing images that can be saved and viewed as a slideshow on your computer. If you can spare up to five dollars, you might like a few new songs for your playlist, a scented room spray, a night light, a flameless candle, or a glass or cup in your favorite color for your nightstand. New pajamas, a new blanket or body pillow, a plush toy of your favorite animal or a teddy bear, a new sheet set, a new comforter and pillow shams, or a soothing sounds machine might be good for someone who can afford to spend a little more. Tailor this step to your own tastes. If playing video games, reading, or knitting relaxes you, get a new game, book, or materials for a project. The idea is to add something to your evening that prompts you to go to sleep.

Seek Professional Help If Needed

These steps are simple because they are ideas that proved effective for the author of this article. They are not medical or therapeutic advice from a professional. Anyone who feels they may need medication to help them sleep, experiences frightening or deeply upsetting nightmares, or simply cannot get a decent night's sleep despite taking steps to relax and restore their normal sleep pattern should visit a licensed mental health and/or medical professional.

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