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Sleep better  

 

Sleep is an important aspect of daily life. Everybody likes a good night’s sleep, but for many this is more of a dream than a reality. Several confounding factors conspire to keep you awake. Most commonly pondering over worries, life's mysteries, family, relationship or financial troubles, deadlines or an uncertain future. Unfortunately, churning these issues over in the mind is at its worst in the early hours of the morning.

A number of physical conditions can make night times uncomfortable; pain, indigestion, breathlessness, or having to pass water frequently. Steroids can keep you alert and agitated as can hormones for breast and prostate cancer which can also cause night sweats.

What can you do to help yourself?

It is helpful to try and accept that it is normal to worry at night and have some sleepless nights. This in turn means you are not worrying about the lack of sleep which will help break the self perpetuating cycle.

 

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Summary – tips to help you sleep:

  • Establish a regular pattern of sleeping. Set a time to go to bed and get up

  • Avoid temperature extremes and noise when in bed

  • Ensure your bedroom is dark. Consider blackout curtains

  • Avoid being uncomfortable or in pain. Consider taking painkillers

  • Try not to watch TV or read exciting books in bed

  • Exercise routinely, but try not to exercise within two hours of bedtime

  • Reduce the intake  of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine after mid afternoon

  • Avoid drinking large amounts of liquids prior to bedtime

  • Avoid food colourings and preservatives which can act as stimulants

  • Avoid hunger or excessive eating prior to bedtime

  • Sleep only as much as you need to feel rested and avoid taking daytime naps

  • If taking steroid drugs, take them in the morning if possible

  • Avoid sleeping tablets unless you are getting over a short-term issue

  • If repeatedly awakened to pass water, discuss medication with your doctor

  • Engage in a quiet, relaxing activity before bedtime

  • If awake for 30 minutes, leave bed, perform a relaxing activity, then return

  • Do not expose yourself to artificial light at night - light bulbs, TV, phones, computers etc

  • If depressed, waking in a sad mood, discuss antidepressants with the doctor

 

 

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