ABCs of ZZZZs -- When you Can't Sleep

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ascertain whether there are any underlying problems that are contributing to or causing your sleep problem.

In many cases, your doctor will be able to recommend lifestyle changes that can help promote sleep. Keep in mind that what works for some individuals may not work for others. So, your best bet is to find out what’s effective for you and stick with it. In general, try to build into your schedule time for eight hours of sleep, and follow this routine as regularly as possible. Even on the weekends. Here are a few tips many people have found to be useful.

* Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep, and alcohol may interrupt your sleep later in the night.

* Exercise regularly, but do so at least three hours before bedtime. A workout after that time may actually keep you awake because your body has not had a chance to cool down.

* Don't use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex. Your bed should be associated with sleep.

* If you have trouble sleeping when you go to bed, don’t nap during the day, since it affects your ability to sleep at night.

* Don't use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex. Your bed should be associated with sleep.

* Consider your sleep environment. Make it as pleasant, comfortable, dark and quiet as you can.

* Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that will allow you to unwind and send a "signal" to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Avoiding exposure to bright light before bedtime and taking a hot bath may help.

* If you can’t go to sleep after 30 minutes, don’t stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and involve yourself in a relaxing activity, such as listening to soothing music or reading, until you feel sleepy. Remember: Try to clear your mind; don’t use this time to solve your daily problems.

When Do You Need to Seek Help?

 

If your sleep problems persist for longer than