Insomnia is the body’s way of saying that something isn’t right. Many things can cause insomnia — things like stress, too much caffeine, depression, and changes in work shifts, and pain from medical problems, such as arthritis. Many people have insomnia. People who have insomnia may not be able to fall asleep. They may wake up during the night and not be able to fall back asleep, or they may wake up too early in the morning.
It’s not really a serious problem for your health, but it can make you feel tired, depressed and irritable. It can also make it hard to concentrate during the day.
Most adults need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. You know you’re getting enough sleep if you don’t feel sleepy during the day. The amount of sleep you need stays about the same throughout adulthood. However, sleep patterns may change with age. For example, older people may sleep less at night and take naps during the day.
If the cause of your insomnia is not clear, your doctor may suggest that you fill out a sleep diary. The diary will help you keep track of when you go to bed, how long you lie in bed before falling asleep, how often you wake during the night, when you get up in the morning and how well you sleep.
Here are some things you can do to help you sleep better:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, even if you didn’t get enough sleep. This will help train your body to sleep at night.
Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same thing every night before going to sleep. For example, take a warm bath and then read for 10 minutes every night before going to bed. Soon you’ll connect these activities with sleeping, and doing them will help make you sleepy.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping or having sex. Don’t eat, talk on the phone or watch TV while you’re in bed.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. If noise is a problem, use a fan to mask the noise or use earplugs. If you must sleep during the day, hang dark blinds over the windows or wear an eye mask.
If you’re still awake after trying to fall asleep for 30 minutes, get up and go to another room. Sit quietly for about 20 minutes before going back to bed. Do this as many times as you need to until you can fall asleep.
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