Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep

Few of us get the optimal amount of sleep that we need. If we’re depressed, we often over sleep, but don’t feel rested. Or we might have the habit of packing as much as we can into each day, staying up late and rising early to do as many activities as we can possibly squeeze into the day. Neither situation is good, but depriving ourselves of sleep takes a toll on our wellbeing, which can have very serious consequences for our job performance, driving skills, relationships, health, and happiness.

This month’s issue of Mindful magazine has “Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep,” excerpted from Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time by Rick Hanson.

I agree with the author that “two things get in the way of sufficient sleep: not setting enough time aside for it, and not having deep and continuous sleep during the time allotted.”[1]

I encourage you to put on your comfy pajamas, grab your teddy bear, and read the entire article for yourself. But if you’re feeling sleepy now, here’s a quick synopsis—you can read the details after you’re refreshed by a great night’s sleep!

  1. Decide on how much time you want to set aside for sleep each night. Work backwards from your wake-up time and plan what you need to do during the hour before your bedtime to get to sleep on time.
  2. Observe the “reasons” that come up to stay up past your bedtime. Prioritize. What’s more important, your health and well-being—or (fill in the blank)?
  3. Really enjoy feeling rested and alert when you get enough sleep.You’ll be motivated to do it again!
  4. Consider the advice of organizations like the National Sleep Foundation: In the last hour or two before bedtime, relax; don’t eat, drink coffee or alcohol, exercise, or smoke; keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, with a good mattress, and use earplugs if your partner snores.
  5. Do what you can to lower stressChronic stress increases hormones like cortisol, which will make it hard to fall asleep or wake you up early in the morning.
  6. Make a deal with yourself to worry or plan in the morning. Focus on things that make you feel happy and relaxed, or the sensations of breathing. Bring to mind the warm feeling of being with people who care about you. Have compassion for yourself.
  7. Relax your tongue, lips and jaw, and eyes; take five to ten long exhalations; imagine your hands are warm (and tuck them under the pillow); rest a finger or knuckle against your lips; imagine you are in a very peaceful setting; progressively relax each part of your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your head.[2]

If you’re still awake and reading, good night!


Dr. Pamm



[1] “Seven Tips for Getting More Sleep,”, Dec. 2014.

[2] Ibid.

Meditation Helps Us Avoid Regrets and Live Life Fully

Rather than making resolutions at the start of this new year, my clients and I are focusing our intentions on making it a year of no regrets. We’re inspired by Mindful magazine’s recent review of Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Nurse Ware describes the feelings she consistently heard while giving palliative care to the terminally ill:

  1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. “I wish I’d let myself be happier.”[1]

It does take courage to live a life true to one’s self, but as author Bronnie Ware explains, “… nothing could be as painful as lying on your deathbed with that regret.”[2] How do we find that courage? Nurse Ware attributes her meditation practice as her source of strength when caring for the dying:

[Meditation] taught me not to judge. I had compassion and respect for whatever that life had been like. I think regret is a very harsh judgment on yourself. The dying people who were expressing regrets to me already had their own judgment. They certainly didn’t need mine. Through meditation I also learned mindfulness and being very present with the people. That’s probably a large part of why our relationships became so personal. When you have a listener that’s obviously present and truly listening, it does give the person permission to open up. And it wasn’t just the dying people I was looking after, it was the family dynamic. All the stuff that comes up for the family being left behind, there’s some truly irrational behavior, a lot of fear and drama. I think meditation really helped me stay calm. I was often the unofficial mediator in the family, and I think meditation is the key to my success in that role.[3]

Ware believes in the power of meditation for all of us to avoid regrets at life’s end:

I think if you can develop compassion for yourself, you’re not going to have regrets. Rather than judging yourself for something you did or didn’t do and having regrets about it, you can actually look back on it later with compassion for who you once were. I think in our busy lives, without meditation, it’s very easy to be ruled by your busy mind, by fear and others’ expectations. I think once you do connect with that part of yourself with a regular practice, there comes a time when your heart speaks too loudly for you to ignore.[4]

Regarding the regrets expressed by her patients, Ware predicts that some of these sentiments may change over time, based on evolving gender roles, generational attitudes toward counseling and therapy, and the widespread use of the Internet and social media to stay connected with friends. I encourage you to read the complete interview on


Dr. Pamm



[1] “Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,”, Dec. 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

Video Workshop: Mindfulness As Self Care with Dr. Pamela Cappetta

I taught this workshop on Mindfulness as Self Care to a group at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA on Jan. 25, 2014. We recorded the sessions and offer them to you here in three short sections totaling 45 minutes. I hope it will be 45 minutes well spent on your journey to greater calm and focus in your life.


Dr. Pamm

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 1

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 2

Mindfulness as Self Care, part 3

New Location as of Jan. 2, 2014

Dr. Pamela Cappetta’s office is moving! As of January 2, 2014, she’s located at 491 McLaw’s Circle, Suite 3A, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Mindfulness Workshop for Counselors & Health Care Providers

At the College of William and Mary on January 25, 2014, Dr. Pamela Cappetta will teach health care professionals how to practice mindfulness.  Dr. Pamm explains, “as professional helpers we often practice great care for others, but forget the importance of healthy self-care. This workshop will introduce you to mindfulness and will provide you with an opportunity to put into practice the basics of paying attention on purpose in the present moment—non-judgmentally.”

When: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Cost: $50 per participant

Register: email Amy Williams

Mindfulness Workshop Flyer 2014


Dr. Pamm’s Stress Management Tactics Referenced

Learn how a young woman coping with a rare disease learned to manage stress with mindfulness practice during the holidays:

“A Proactive Approach To Holidays For People With Chronic Diseases”

Dr. Pamm’s advice for stress management is good any time of  year:

• Adjust your perspective: Set your intention daily to be positive and hopeful.

• Identify and understand your personal stressors.

• When you feel yourself getting stressed, stop and take deep breaths.

• Adopt a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise and good sleeping habits.

• Talk to your doctor if you find yourself overwhelmed by stress.

Free Download: “5 Practices for a Mindful Day”

5 Practices for a Mindful Day is handy guide for developing this natural human ability – it’s not all in your head! Please download this free PDF—courtesy of—and begin to manage your stress with these simple and effective tips.

Interview for Williamsburg Neighbors Magazine, Sept. 2013

Dr. Pamm was interviewed by Rachel Sapin for the September 2013 issue of Williamsburg Neighbors magazine. Check out her thoughts on Reducing Stress through Mindfulness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Expanding Your RA World

Dr. Pamm is now an expert on, helping people to manage their chronic pain. You can get expert advice through articles, tools, and videos on this excellent site.

Dr. Pamm to Teach at Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium Nov. 9, 2013

Register now for the Woman’s Quest Wellness Symposium on Nov. 9, 2013. Organized by the Greater Williamsburg Area United Way, this one-day event covers a wide range of topics to help women achieve and maintain wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Pamela Cappetta will teach mindfulness skills at 11:00 a.m. The full day of events will be held at Kingsmill Resorts from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and costs $99.

Mindfulness Meditation: Self-care for Busy People

Notice your breathing as you begin to read this article. Take a few nice breaths and notice if you can feel the texture of your breath as it crosses over your lips or through your nostrils. Notice your thoughts. Are you judging whether this piece will catch your attention or if you will stop reading now? Are you thinking about what has to be done when you finish this article?

If you followed the suggestions above you have already begun to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is practiced by paying attention to purpose in your life as it unfolds moment by moment. By using a lens of non-judgment and curiosity we can begin to view our lives with more acceptance and compassion. There is evidence that this practice helps decrease automatic responses to stress and increase neuroplasticity in the brain (new brain cells).

Mindfulness is often done in a formal meditation but can be done anywhere and anytime as a form of self-care. By becoming committed to this simple practice of paying attention and “naming and noting” the present moment experiences, we become aware of patterns of thought that disrupt our peacefulness. Return to your breath over and over to keep the ever wandering mind in the present moment.

Notice your body. Are you sitting down or standing up as you read? Do you have any aches or pains in your body? Notice the clothing you have on today. Do you like the colors and textures of the clothing?

Notice your emotions. Are you feeling: Peaceful? Anxious? Calm? Rushed? Sad? Joyful? Sleepy?

One of my favorite homework assignments for myself and my clients is to watch the wind blow for ten minutes daily. Often folks look at me like I am crazy when I make this suggestion. Try it. Watching the wind blow is a simple process. You have time.

Watch your breath and notice the way you feel when you breathe. Notice your surroundings. Look at the colors of objects around you. If you can’t get outside, notice the air from a fan blowing. Notice how the breeze or stillness of the air touches your skin.

Becoming an active member of your self-care team will be time well spent!!

This post by Dr. Pamela Cappetta was first published on Behavioral Health Matters.

Behavioral Health Matters web site

Dr. Pamm Honored to Be Included in Who’s Who in America 2013

Dr. Pamm received notice this week of her inclusion in the 2013 edition of Who’s Who in America 2013:

Dear Pamela Cappetta,

Who’s Who in America 2013 (67th Edition) has just been published and I’d like to share with you some of the fascinating people whose biographies are appearing in the book – alongside your own – for the very first time.

Each year the Marquis Who’s Who staff researches people from all walks of life who merit inclusion in Who’s Who in America. Beginning with the inaugural edition in 1899, which featured such luminaries as John D. Rockefeller, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Theodore Roosevelt, Who’s Who in America has consistently represented the most current snapshot available of the professional and cultural landscape of the country.

Here are just a few of the new notables you’ll find in the new 2013 edition:

Sofía Vergara, multiple award-winning star of the hit sitcom Modern Family and highest paid actress on television. Recently named a brand ambassador for CoverGirl.

Robert Griffin III, winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy and current starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins. First rookie quarterback in NFL history to be named Offensive Player of the Week in his debut.

Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of the United States Air Force Materiel Command and the first female to become a four-star general in the USAF.

Sara Ganim, crime reporter who broke the story of the Penn State scandal, for which she received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

Neal Kwatra, chief of staff to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Named one of 2012’s 40 Under 40 and 25 People to Watch by Crain’s New York Business.

Téa Obreht, author who became the youngest person to receive the presitigious Orange Prize for Fiction for her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife.

Michel Hazanavicius, filmmaker who won the Academy Award for Best Director for 2011’s The Artist, which also became the first silent film to win Best Picture since the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929.

We are proud to have you as part of the Marquis Who’s Who family and to welcome you into this edition of Who’s Who in America. On behalf of our entire team, I’d like to wish you the best of luck for your continued success.


Fred Marks