This information is about sleep problems. It covers what sleep problems are, what can cause problems sleeping, and how to deal with problems getting and staying asleep.
Sleep problems include difficulties in falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping deeply and restfully. Normally, sleep problems don’t last long; but if your problems persist for a month or more, you should talk to your health care provider about them.
Most sleep problems are not caused by some underlying illness. Instead, they are usually caused by stress and/or certain daily habits. Stress can cause problems because it’s harder to fall asleep when you are not relaxed. The stress may come from anxiety, family or personal problems, or difficulties at work or school.
Some habits that can interfere with sleep include taking naps, avoiding healthy exercise, and consuming too much food, coffee or alcohol in the hours before bedtime.
When people are troubled by sleep problems, they sometimes take things to help them sleep. In general, this is a bad idea. Sleeping pills and tranquilizers may actually worsen sleep problems because they disrupt the body’s normal sleep patterns. The result is often less restful sleep and morning hangover. Also, drugs can mask underlying psychological problems that are causing the sleeplessness. Some people drink alcohol to make themselves sleepy; but studies indicate that beyond a certain point, alcohol can also interfere with normal sleep patterns and make sleeping less restful. Also, alcohol does not mix well with sleeping pills or tranquilizers. In some cases, the combination can be fatal. In short, drugs and/or alcohol are not the answer.
However, there are several safe, natural things you can do to encourage restful sleep. First remember that different people need different amounts of sleep. As people grow older, they often need less sleep. And one or two sleepless nights will not do any permanent harm.
To promote sleep, avoid naps in the afternoon or after dinner, because they can interfere with normal sleep patterns and cut down on sleep at night.
Second, get adequate outdoor exercise. Physical activity and fresh air promote easier, deeper, longer sleep.
Next, adjust your eating habits. Eat well-balanced meals at regular intervals to avoid snacking at bedtime. And don’t eat large, spicy meals before bedtime. Sleeplessness can be caused by indigestion. Avoid drinking colas, coffee, tea, or alcohol after mid-afternoon.
Next, prepare for sleep by relaxing. Take a warm bath, perform some relaxing activity, or listen to relaxation tapes or soft music to prepare your body for lingering sleep.
To help your body establish regular sleep patterns, go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Once your body is programmed to follow a regular sleep cycle, falling asleep will be easier.
A good sleeping environment will help you sleep. Reserve your bedroom for sleeping and sexual activities only. Some people find that intercourse at bedtime makes them sleepy. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and can be darkened adequately. A room temperature around 65 degrees encourages deep, restful sleep.
Here’s what to do if you can’t fall asleep. First, don’t go to bed if you don’t feel sleepy. Next, don’t lie awake longer than ten or fifteen minutes. Instead, get out of bed and turn on the TV or radio or engage in a soothing activity like reading a book and listening to quiet music. Don’t go back to bed until you feel sleepy — and don’t be anxious about losing a few hours of sleep. It won’t hurt you.
Please remember these key points:
- Most sleep problems are temporary, and are caused by tension and/or daily habits.
- Don’t take pills or alcohol to help you sleep. Instead, avoid naps, get regular exercise, eat moderately and regularly, and avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol after mid-afternoon.
- To promote sleep, relax before bedtime and sleep in a soothing environment.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get up and pursue relaxing activities for a while.
- Above all, don’t worry about losing a little sleep.
This information is about bedwetting in childhood. You’ll find out when to expect children to outgrow bedwetting and how you can help your child if it becomes a problem. Read moreTags: Urology, sleep disorders, Pediatrics, Bedwetting, Childhood