Trouble Sleeping - Sleep Recommendations - Sleep Hygiene
My doctor recently discussed sleep problems with a person I know who has trouble falling asleep at night. His recommendations involved what he called "sleep hygiene".
These recommendations were re-iterated in December 2008 to a person suffering from either concussion-syndrome or migraine headaches.
Sleep hygiene involves several factors, which are known to increase ease of falling asleep at night:
- Have both a regular bed-time and a regular time to arise in the morning- no varying it all around - set a time and stick with it;
- Reduce stimulation at night in the hour prior to bed - this includes not listening to loud or jarring music (e.g. rap), reducing television viewing, avoiding MSN chat, etc.;
- Do not exercise before bed - this stimulates the body;
- Increase quiet activities in those hours before bed - reading, listening to quiet peaceful music, or meditation fit into this realm;
- Remove all electronics from the bedroom; IPod, cell phones, etc. The desire to use them, plus potential electronic emissions can stimulate the body to stay awake;
- Do not eat in the hour before bed - this requires that the body get fired up to process the food - however, a light snack (e.g. vegetable matter of small proportion) may be alright - avoid heavy foods (fatty, sugary, etc.);
- Take melatonin capsules if needed - this is a natural substance that the body produces (making one feel tired or sleepy) and is non-habit forming (read this: melatonin overdose);
- "Sleepytime" etc. herbal teas at bedtime may also help - a cup or so 15-30 minutes before scheduled bed-time can help.
- Do not become over-tired - if you don't get enough sleep and become over-tired, this can increase the difficulty you have falling asleep at night. Get at least eight hours sleep every night. And nine to ten hours if you're between the ages of 10 to 18.
That's about it - I'd also add that the occasional use of a proper sleep herb (please consult your health care advisor here, folks) can assist as well. I've found that Valerian works well for me, but may be contra-indicated in pregnant women or others.