SLEEP PROBLEMS

The first step to correct most sleeping problems is to get up at the same time every day, regardless of how you feel or what time you went to sleep.

TO PUT YOURSELF TO SLEEP
– avoid heavy meals, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine in the evening
– write down worrying or distracting thoughts to clear your head
– get up after 20 minutes if you can’t fall asleep, but keep getting up at the same time each morning
– learn relaxation and/or mindfulness meditation techniques

STAYING ASLEEP
– getting up in the middle of the night is a common practice in some cultures
– waking up can occur as drugs or alcohol wear off, or as a result of a dream
– write down dreams and thoughts that keep you awake to clear your head

SLEEPING PILLS
– side effects include uninhibited behaviour, amnesia, rebound anxiety and hangover effects
– continuous use for 3-4 weeks can cause dependence
long-term health effects of continuous use of sleeping pills are equivalent to smoking

MELATONIN
melatonin (3-6 mg at bedtime) can improve the quality of sleep
– melatonin is for short term use only (6-12 weeks)
– if melatonin stops being effective, stop using it for 2 weeks rather than increasing the dose

SLEEP LABS
– can identify breathing problems or other medical conditions responsible for insomnia
– often fail to come up with a definite reason for insomnia in healthy adults

SEE ALSO
– What to do about Insomnia
– How to Fall Asleep
– Sleeping with a Partner