SLEEP PROBLEMS

TO GET INTO A REGULAR SLEEP PATTERN
– get up at the same time every day – regardless of how you feel or how long you have slept

TO PUT YOURSELF TO SLEEP
– avoid heavy meals, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine in the evening
– practice relaxation and/or mindfulness meditation techniques
– 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

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 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 a while 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
– 10 Things the Sleep-Aid Industry Won’t Tell You