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Wellness Update - - Health Essentials -

1. Have a 'night­cap' be­fore bed

Do you un­wind with a glass of wine or a scotch and soda be­fore bed? “The lit­er­a­ture shows that al­co­hol is the most abused drug for in­som­ni­acs,” says Nancy Fold­vary-Schae­fer, DO, MS “It’s the sin­gle worst rem­edy you can use.” Adds Michelle Dre­rup, MD, “Drink­ing al­co­hol may make you feel drowsy. ut as it wears o , it frag­ments the nat­u­ral stages of sleep.” De­spite al­co­hol’s quickly se­dat­ing ef­fect, when it’s me­tab­o­lized a few hours later, it causes re­cur­rent awak­en­ings. Your deep­est stage of sleep — REM (rapid eye move­ment) — is sup­pressed. Drink­ing al­co­hol near bed­time may also worsen snor­ing and sleep ap­nea.

2. Bring elec­tron­ics to bed with you

Your bed is not the right place for smart­phones, tablets or lap­tops. “Ly­ing in bed and ‘try­ing to sleep’ by play­ing games, check­ing your email, re­view­ing bank state­ments or pay­ing bills on­line will back­fire on you,” says Tina Wa­ters, MD. The “blue” light from elec­tronic de­vices pre­vents the re­lease of melatonin from the brain’s pineal gland, prevent­ing sleepi­ness. “Ado­les­cents may be even more vul­ner­a­ble to this ef­fect than adults,” notes Dr. Fold­vary-Schae­fer.

3. Rely on an­ti­his­tamines

An­ti­his­tamines like diphen­hy­dramine (Be­nadryl®) sure make you drowsy. But they’re not a long-term so­lu­tion for insomnia.

“An­ti­his­tamines may help you get to sleep. But they ac­cu­mu­late in the brain over time, caus­ing grog­gi­ness and even cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment the next day,” cau­tions Harneet Walia, MD.

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