About once month I get a request for a letter for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). While I firmly believe in having a pet for emotional support, I have to admit I believe my patients probably know more about ESAs than I do. ESAs do not have the same protection as a service animal, but they can still provide many benefits. ESAs can add to a person's quality of life by helping calm someone's anxiety or soothing their depression. I typically have patients who own dogs or cats as ESAs. Typically my patients request letters of support for the owner's living environment (such as an apartment or dorm room) or for plane travel. There is training available for ESAs in San Antonio (for a cost) but not all owners go through formal training for their pet. As a dog and cat owner myself I totally understand the companionship pets can provide. I look forward to discussing ESAs each time! Pets are welcome in my clinic!
NAMI San Antonio is the local chapter of the larger NAMI non-profit organization. I think my patients have found their family and individual support groups to be the most helpful resource that they offer. Check them out for yourself and gather some pearls!
Treatment of insomnia starts with your morning routine! When most people think of sleepy hygiene they think of their bedtime routine, however, one of the strongest recommendations for treatment of insomnia occurs in the morning and not at night. The eye's exposure to natural sunlight in the morning starts the body's circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock). Light tells the body that it is time to wake up and sets the timer to tell the body to go to sleep later on. Daylight savings time is here! This is the perfect time of year to be exposed to lots of bright natural sunlight each morning. On the contrary, it also means you must block out bright light from your windows at night because the body's clock needs the absence of light to cue it's sleep time (also hence no electronic devices 1-2 hours before bedtime). But there is a second runner up when it comes to morning sleep hygiene! Physical activity also helps start the body's circadian rhythm in the morning. This is where I digress for a second. Physical activity is not just good for the circadian rhythm but also for heart health and emotional well-being. Physical activity too late in the day may cause some people to experience insomnia. However, one has to balance the pros and cons of the effects of physical activity late in the day on their health versus no physical activity at all. It is generally thought that if one can only exercise in the evening that they exercise in the evening. However, the best time to exercise for the circadian rhythm's sake is early in the morning upon awakening. In summary, physical activity and the retina's exposure to sunlight are two morning sleep hygiene recommendations that can help improve sleep quality. I hope this helps you get a better night's rest!
Here is a link to a government website on sleep hygiene.
Mental Health Care for Children, Adolescents, and Adults