If you experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or enjoying a restful night's sleep, you may be suffering from insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- daytime sleepiness
- low energy or fatigue
- anxiety or frustration about sleep
- attention, concentration or memory problems
- waking up tired or in pain
Tips that may help sleep problems:
- Get up about the same time every day.
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy and get out of bed when you are awake.
- Establish pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath, a light bedtime snack, brushing teeth, putting on bedtime clothing, or 10 minutes of reading.
- Exercise regularly. If you exercise vigorously, do this at least 3 to 6 hours before bedtime. Mild exercise - such as simple stretching or walking -- should not be done closer to bedtime than 4 hours.
- Maintain a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, taking medications, doing chores, and other activities help keep your "inner clock" running smoothly.
- Avoid anything containing caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol within several hours of bedtime or when you are sleepy.
- Avoid smoking close to bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant.
- Avoid falling asleep in front of the television.
- If you take naps, try to do so at the same time every day. For most people, a short mid-afternoon nap is most helpful.
- Avoid sleeping pills or use them conservatively. Most physicians avoid prescribing sleeping pills for a period of longer than 3 weeks. Never drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills.
- Reduce evening light exposure by turning off bright lights. This may help cue the body and mind for sleep.
- Expose yourself to light (through windows or a timed lamp) 30 minutes before waking to prepare for getting out of bed.
- Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. If possible, remove non-sleep related items such as televisions or computers so that the room is associated only with sleep.
Always consult your physician or other healthcare provider for more information.