Tuck info ra good night’ s sleep

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY -

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.

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