Stress and Sleep Issues- Dean - WI

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Stress and Sleep Issues

Stress and Sleep IssuesSleep is an essential part of our everyday living and is something we often take for granted. When we sleep well, many other aspects of our lives seem to go more smoothly.

However, many Americans do not sleep well. Three reasons for poor sleep include:

  • Medical conditions
  • Side effects from prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
  • Poor sleep habits

You may be in need of more sleep if you:

  • Rely on caffeine to stay awake
  • Often are forgetful
  • Experience irritability on a frequent basis

Fortunately there are a number of ways to improve your sleep that are under your control. Here are some ways to improve your sleep:

  • Be Consistent — Set a schedule of when you go to bed and when you get out of bed. Try not to deviate from this routine as much as possible, even on weekends.
  • Do Not Lay in Bed — If you have not been able to get to sleep or maintain sleep for 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed and read or engage in another activity outside of the bedroom. Then, return to the bedroom only when you feel tired enough to fall asleep. Discuss worries and stressful events enough time before bedtime.
  • Avoid or Minimize Caffeine, Cigarettes, Stimulants, Alcohol — Avoid caffeine in any form past mid-afternoon and do not eat dinner late, as this will make it less likely that you will fall asleep.
  • Do Not Exercise Before Bedtime — Don't exercise within 90 minutes of going to sleep, as your body needs plenty of time to cool down in order to fall asleep. However, If medically able, increase activity level in the afternoon or early evening by walking or exercising outdoors.
  • Be Careful About Taking Medication — Be careful when taking sleep medications, either prescription or over-the-counter. Many of these medications are meant for short-term use only and some react strongly with alcohol. Also, many of these sleep medications may result in decreased overall sleep quality.
  • Increase Exposure to Natural Light and bright light during day and early evening.
  • Avoid Napping — particularly after 2:00 pm; limit naps to 1 nap of less than 30 minutes.
  • Maintain Comfortable Bedroom Temperature — Studies have shown that a cool bedroom environment promotes a better sleep pattern.
  • Minimize Light and Noise Exposure as much as possible (ear plugs and eye masks can be purchased at most pharmacies).
  • Eat a Light Snack if Hungry — Avoid heavy meals at bedtime. Limit liquids in the evening.
  • Use Relaxation Techniques — healthjourneys.com has many useful products and tapes to help you relax and sleep better.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep to feel rested. While it can be normal for some to get up once or twice during the night, if you get up more than this, you may not have a sleep problem. Instead, you may have a medical problem that is affecting your sleep. You may want to see your doctor to find out if there is a treatable condition that is causing you to get up frequently at night.

Helpful Books

  • Say Goodnight to Insomnia, Gregg Jacobs and Herbert Benson
  • The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep, Lawrence Epstein and Steven Mardon

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