After you and your doctor have treated
any health problems related to your
insomnia, there are many steps you can take to improve
your sleep. Here are few examples:
- Avoid or limit caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
Don't use them at all late in the day or in the evening.
- Check all
of your medicines with your doctor to see if they could be affecting your
sleep. To help avoid sleep problems, you may be able to adjust your dose or
change the time of day you take your medicine.
- Use the evening
hours for settling down. Avoid watching TV and using the
computer or phone if they keep you from getting to sleep.
- Make exercise a regular part of your life,
but don't do it within 3 or 4 hours of bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sleep mask
and earplugs to help you sleep.
- If you are overweight, set goals to manage your weight. Being overweight can be linked with sleep problems.
For more tips on how to improve your sleep, see:
- Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep.
- Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well.
- Sleep Problems: Dealing With Jet Lag.
- Shift Work Sleep Disorder.
Sleep tips for older adults
Older adults, especially those living in nursing homes or who are cared
for by others, often have ongoing sleep problems. It's natural for your sleep
patterns to change as you get older, but it doesn't mean that you need less
sleep or that the sleep you do get is enough.
There are things you
can do to
cope with changing sleep patterns as you get older, such as having familiar
evening and nighttime routines.
Treatment if sleep problems don't get better
Be sure to talk to your doctor if
your sleep problem gets worse, if it lasts for more than 2 weeks, or if your
symptoms become more severe or happen more often.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
December 1, 2011
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