Insomnia is the body’s way of saying that something isn’t right.

Many things can cause insomnia — things like stress, too much
caffeine, depression, and changes in work shifts, and pain from
medical problems, such as arthritis. Many people have insomnia.
People who have insomnia may not be able to fall asleep. They may
wake up during the night and not be able to fall back asleep, or they
may wake up too early in the morning.
It’s not really a serious problem for your health, but it can make
you feel tired, depressed and irritable. It can also make it hard to
concentrate during the day.

Most adults need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. You know
you’re getting enough sleep if you don’t feel sleepy during the day.
The amount of sleep you need stays about the same throughout
adulthood. However, sleep patterns may change with age. For example,
older people may sleep less at night and take naps during the day.
If the cause of your insomnia is not clear, your doctor may suggest
that you fill out a sleep diary. The diary will help you keep track
of when you go to bed, how long you lie in bed before falling asleep,
how often you wake during the night, when you get up in the morning
and how well you sleep.

Here are some things you can do to help you sleep better:

* Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including
weekends, even if you didn’t get enough sleep. This will help train
your body to sleep at night.

* Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same thing every night before
going to sleep. For example, take a warm bath and then read for 10
minutes every night before going to bed. Soon you’ll connect these
activities with sleeping, and doing them will help make you sleepy.

* Use the bedroom only for sleeping or having sex. Don’t eat, talk
on the phone or watch TV while you’re in bed.

* Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. If noise is a problem,
use a fan to mask the noise or use earplugs. If you must sleep during
the day, hang dark blinds over the windows or wear an eye mask.

* If you’re still awake after trying to fall asleep for 30 minutes,
get up and go to another room. Sit quietly for about 20 minutes
before going back to bed. Do this as many times as you need to until
you can fall asleep.

Now that we’ve covered those aspects of sleep, let’s turn to some of
the other factors that need to be considered.

The day will come when you can use something you read about here to
have a beneficial impact. Then you’ll be glad you took the time to
learn more about sleep.


-Baba Jani
Editor, Healthier Success Tips
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12 Mar 2007