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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sleep Problems -- Ritual Before Get Better Night’s Sleep

The average total nightly sleep time is 7.5 to 8 hours. Healthy adults can require anywhere from 4 to 10 hours of sleep. Many times, simple home treatment can help you get the sleep you need.

The Activities Before Go to Sleep

The following are some activities can promote good sleep habits:

  • Set a bedtime and time to get up, and stick to them, even on weekends. This will help your body get used to a regular sleep time.
  • Exercise during the day. Avoid strenuous exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Wind down toward the end of the day. Don't take on problem-solving conversations or challenging activities in the evening.
  • Take a warm bath before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Remove distractions, such as a clock, telephone, or radio, from your bedroom.
  • Use a humidifier or "white noise" machine to block out background noise in your bedroom throughout the night.
  • Try using a sleep mask and ear plugs at night.
  • If you take medication that may be stimulating, such as antihistamines, decongestants, or asthma medications, take them as long before bedtime as possible.
  • Reserve the bedroom for sleeping and sexual activities so that you come to associate it with sleep. Go to another room to read, watch television, or eat.
  • After getting into bed, make a conscious effort to let your muscles relax. Imagine yourself in a peaceful, pleasant scene.

If you still cannot get to sleep, try the following:

  • When you are awake after 15 or 20 minutes, get up and read in dim light or do a boring task until you feel drowsy.
  • Don't lie in bed and think about how much sleep you're missing or watch TV.

Don’t Do This Activities

Avoid activities that might keep you from a good night's sleep:

  • Do not take naps during the day, especially in the evening.
  • Do not drink or eat caffeine after 3:00 p.m. This includes coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Nicotine can disrupt sleep and reduce total sleep time. Smokers report more daytime sleepiness and minor accidents than do nonsmokers, especially in younger age groups.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. It may make you sleepy but also will probably wake you up after a short time.

Try a nonprescription medication, such as Nytol, Sleep-Eze, or Sominex. Use nonprescription medications wisely since they can cause daytime confusion, memory loss, and dizziness. Continued use of sleeping pills may actually increase your sleeplessness (rebound insomnia).

Melatonin is a popular herbal remedy for sleep problems. Experts disagree about its usefulness for sleep problems. Before using any treatment, it is important to consider the risks and benefits of the treatment.

If you have several nights of difficulty sleeping, review all of your prescription and nonprescription medications with your health professional or pharmacist to determine whether the medications you take could be the cause of your sleep problem.

Symptoms to Watch For During Home Treatment

  • Your sleep problem becomes worse.
  • Your sleep problem lasts longer than 4 weeks.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.

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