Insomnia can take its toll, so here are tips for a healthy sleep.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

We’ve all been there – you can’t sleep, the clock keeps ticking and as the sleepless minutes pass, your anxiety grows. If this sounds like you, you might be suffering from insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes people to either have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be a problem that can last only a few days or for some, months to years. 

Insomnia is reported more commonly in women than men (4:1 ratio), the elderly and those with medical and mental illness. Lack of sleep can have an impact on your mental and physical well-being and can affect many aspects of your life. 

But before you rush to the doctor for a pharmaceutical solution, try to figure out what is causing the lack of sleep.

Causes of insomnia can include stress, travel, work schedule (i.e. night shifts), medical conditions and medications. Sometimes people develop poor sleep habits and changing these habits may be all that’s needed to help you sleep better.  

Here is some example of good sleep habits:

·       Going to bed only when you are tired

·       Making your bedroom quiet and comfortable

·       Only using the bedroom as a place to sleep and for intimacy

·       Avoid bright lights from TV’s and electronic devices before bed

·       Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine

·       Exercise regularly (avoid late night activities)

·       Maintain a regular sleep schedule (even on weekends) with no daytime naps

·       Do something enjoyable and relaxing before bedtime

There is medication available to help treat insomnia.  This is always an option, but first try these tips for good sleep hygiene. There are also natural health products and over-the-counter solutions available. 

Ask your pharmacist or doctor what would be appropriate for you.

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Author: Lindsay MacCormack-Ackerley is a licensed community pharmacist working in Halifax, NS since 2007.She contributes to Optimyz Magazine’s Ask the Pharmacist column.

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