How to have a good night's sleep
Vicki Copeland, MD, is a family practice physician on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center. Her office can be reached at (623) 873-8236.
Question: I have trouble falling asleep without medication. Is there anything I can do to get a good night’s sleep without resorting to pills?
Answer: Sleep disorders in our society are very common. There are a variety of reasons why people have trouble falling asleep. They vary from lifestyle to medical problems or in some cases a reaction to medication.
Stress, depression, caffeine consumption, smoking, alcohol, even travel can all play of role in keeping an individual awake at night. Other factors may include reading, watching television and even eating in bed.
Something as simple as using a nightlight can affect your sleep pattern. Traditionally, daytime is light and nighttime is dark. Even the small amount of light emitted by a nightlight can throw your circadian rhythm off.
Adults aren’t the only ones who suffer from sleep deprivation. It is important that children get plenty of rest. Too little sleep can affect their ability to learn. If a lifestyle change does not improve the problem they should be evaluated by their doctor to see if their lack of sleep is being caused by a medical condition.
A good night’s sleep is important to our mental and physical state of being. In addition to being physically unhealthy, it has been found that sleep impaired drivers are as dangerous on the roads as those who are alcohol impaired. It is also known that a continuous lack of sleep causes low productivity and a higher potential for accidents in the work place. It is more difficult to think, focus and concentrate when you are tired.
Try making a few lifestyle changes. Eat properly throughout the day but do not eat before going to bed. Try to schedule your heaviest meal in the middle of the day when you are most active. Exercise should be done earlier in the day, and try sleeping in a dark room.
If you do not notice a change, talk to your physician to see if there is a medical reason for your sleeplessness.