Tuck info ra good night’ s sleep
Did you know that every night as many as up to one third of the adult population may have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep? Half of these problems can be due to specific sleep disorders or problems, but the remainder seem to be from poor sleep habits or rather the things that we do that don’t help us to get to sleep.
If we don’t get enough sleep we can be moody, have poor concentration, memory and reaction times. Sleep restores our bodies and minds and allows them to maintain normal functioning during waking hours. So, it pays to ensure we get enough sleep, and on a regular basis. But how, especially if we have lost the knack for getting off to sleep, or staying asleep, or both?
Self Care pharmacists have a few tips to help you develop good sleeping habits.
For starters, if sleep does not come after about 20 minutes, then get out of bed and do something else. Don’t lie there tossing and turning, in a panic because you cannot sleep. If you have problems sleeping on a regular basis, and you are unable to go to sleep or stay asleep (insomnia), then keep the bedroom only for sleeping. Don’t watch TV in bed, or do work in the bedroom, if sleep eludes you. And don’t stay in bed reading or generally lying in.
Your mind and body need to know that ‘‘bed means sleep’’, and nothing else. Keeping to this policy, and being consistent about the time you go to bed and wake up, can bring about improvements in sleep patterns.
Sleep problems can be caused by a number of things:
•Temperature of the room is too hot or too cold, or the room is not well ventilated
•Too much noise around the bedroom area
•Drinking too much coffee, or other beverages containing caffeine (eg tea and V) around bedtime
•Eating too much food, possibly a very big meal just before going to bed
•Certain medicines that can keep you awake if you take them too close to bedtime •Feeling pain due to a chronic illness •Using devices that produce blue light
•If you take work or family/personal pressures and stresses to bed with you
Trying to identify what is causing sleep problems is the first step to overcoming them. Worrying about not sleeping usually makes it worse. But remember, the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, and generally our requirements decrease with age.
Here are some things you can do to help you sleep well: •Avoid naps during the day •Get some exercise during the day so your body is tired and ready for rest at night. It isn’t helpful to exercise too close to bedtime either.
•At night-time avoid taking stimulant medicines (eg phenylephrine which is found in most cold preparations) which can keep you awake
•Ask your pharmacist about other medicines you are taking that might be the cause of your poor sleep
•At bed-time avoid drinks that contain caffeine or drinking large quantities of fluids because of the effect on your bladder during the night
•Before bed-time listen to soft music or read printed books that can help you relax •Reduce or limit screens with blue light •Give yourself time in the evening to wind down before bed – try relaxation breathing exercises, or meditation.
Sleep problems also can arise through disturbed sleep caused by heavy snoring and, at the worst end of the snoring spectrum, sleep apnoea (where the snorer stops breathing for short periods and then gasps as breath is restored – which causes sleep disturbance). Your doctor can help diagnose sleep apnoea and suggest appropriate treatment.
If these self-help suggestions do not work and you continue to have sleep problems, then it may be helpful to talk to your GP or Self Care pharmacists. Ask about the Pharmacy Self Care fact card on Sleeping Well from your Self Care pharmacist.
Sleeping problems are not uncommon, but worrying about not sleeping usually makes it worse.