Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Sleepless in New Hanover County - Part 1

Sleepless in New Hanover County? Dealing with Insomnia

Prepare for sleep
Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep can help you get your mind and body into “sleep mode.”
  • Relax your body. To reduce muscular tension, try techniques such as meditation, progressive relaxation or even taking a warm bath.
  • Unwind mentally. About a half hour before going to bed, enjoy a low-key activity such as reading or listening to music.
  • Once in bed, try to stop worrying. Avoid solving your problems from your bed. Before going to bed, make a list of problems and “next steps” for the following day.
  • Try a high-carb snack. A light snack that is high in carbohydrates, such as a plain bagel, might help you relax.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or high-sugar foods.

Follow a schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Creating this routine can help condition your mind and body to expect sleep at a regular time.

Do a bedroom checkYour bedroom may not be as conducive to sleep as it could be. The following strategies can make your bedroom more sleep-friendly:
  • Block out noise. Or better yet, eliminate it. Even if you fall back to sleep after noise wakes you, the quality of your sleep can be compromised. Turn off radios, televisions, or stereos in the bedroom (and other rooms as well). If you can’t control the noise, try earplugs.
  • Reduce light. The issue isn’t merely how light affects your eyes. Light also affects the way your brain produces hormones that regulate your sleep cycle. Even a minimal amount of light can disrupt your sleep. Possible solutions: Ask your sleep partner to read in another room; wear a “sleep mask”; use heavy shades or other window treatments that keep the room very dark.
  • Adjust the room temperature. If you are too warm or too cold, you are less likely to sleep soundly. Adjust the thermostat, your sleep clothes, or your bedding; open or close a window.
  • Move the clock. If you have insomnia looking at the clock can make you anxious. Therefore, it’s best to keep it out of view.
  • Have your pet sleep somewhere else. If your dog or cat sleeps in your bed, your chances for sound sleep are jeopardized. Have your pet sleep on the floor, or get your pet its own cushion and place it in another room.
  • Address your partner’s sleep problems. A bed partner who snores, tosses and turns a lot, talks while sleeping, or gets up often can affect your own sleep. In some cases, using earplugs or adding “white noise” (from a fan or similar humming appliance) can help. If your partner gets up a lot, make sure he or she sleeps closest to the door. If your partner tosses and turns, consider a larger bed, or even separate beds.
Come back next week for General Tips, Tips for Shift Workers and Tips for staying alert.
Patient Centered Care - Adult and Geriatric Medical Practice

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