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Sleep Hygiene: Tips for getting a good night`s sleep


What determines a good night's sleep varies from one individual to another. Trying a variety of things may help in finding the best routine for the perfect night's sleep.


Ten sleep hygiene rules to consider adopting:

  1. Cut down on your `bed` time. Spending a lot of time in your bed prior to your regular sleep periods can make your sleep more shallow. Find a different location to do activities such as reading or watching TV other than your bed.

  2. Maintain a regular bedtime. Waking up too early or sleeping past the time you need to get up are clues that you might need to adjust your bedtime. Keeping a regular bedtime every night allows you to get enough rest before rising.

  3. Avoid a clock in your bedroom. It is OK to set an alarm but put it in a place where you can`t see the time on the clock. This will eliminate any pressure that clock-watching during the night may cause.

  4. Exercise:  Getting regular exercise will help you sleep better at night. It is best to do this three to six hours prior to bedtime.

  5. Avoid `trying` to get to sleep. The more you try the more awake you become. If you are having difficulty falling asleep, get up and watch TV or read for a while until you naturally become drowsy.

  6. Eat a light snack. Try drinking a glass of milk, cheese and crackers or any other light snack might help.

  7. Avoid caffeine. Try avoiding all coffee and beverages containing caffeine, such as colas, from lunchtime on. You may want to try avoided tea and chocolate as well if you are very sensitive.

  8. Deal with worries prior to bedtime.  If you are worry-prone, take a half-hour earlier in the evening for some `alone` time. Write down what worries you and think about potential solutions to problems you are facing. Set them aside at bedtime.

  9. Try taking a hot bath at bedtime. Relaxing in the tub often helps you sleep more soundly.

  10. Try adjusting your bedroom environment. Do whatever makes you most comfortable such as using heavy drapes to make the bedroom darker, opening a window for some fresh air, or drowning out noise with a fan. Find out what works best for you.


Source: Mayo Clinic brochure on the topic of Insomnia published by Mayo Clinic Press.

Simply snoring or something more?


Are you getting jabbed in the ribs from your bed partner at night? If so, you may be familiar with grumbling and complaints about your snoring.


The nightly noise you make can disrupt their sleep and your own. It may even be a sign of a more serious condition called sleep apnea.


If you are experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea your throat may become blocked during sleep and you might stop breathing for short periods of time.  You briefly wake up to breathe. This cycle repeats itself many times throughout the night.


You may also snort or gasp in your sleep, wake up feeling tired or with a headache, and feel very sleepy throughout the day. You may find that at times it is difficult to concentrate and you may experience problems with your memory.


The good news is that a range of treatment options are now available to help you breathe freely again so that you can get a good night`s sleep.


To assist you in determining the best treatment option for you, visit with your doctor. An overnight sleep study may be suggested to help determine whether or not your snoring is due to sleep apnea.


Your doctor will gather information about your sleep habits, such as how long you have been snoring, how well you sleep, whether or not you are sleepy during the daytime, your lifestyle, work and any medical conditions that you have. The impact of snoring on your life and others that live with you may be discussed.


If a sleep study is suggested, this will give you the best picture of how you breathe at night when you sleep. You may be asked to spend a night at a sleep clinic or you may be loaned a small monitor to use at home. Your breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels and other functions will be measured and recorded. The findings will help determine which treatments will be best for you.


Source: Snoring and Sleep Apnea brochure published by The StayWell Company in 2005.

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Depression & Sleep

Do You Have Trouble Sleeping at Night?


In some cases, sleep problems may be related to a condition called depression. Depression is being recognized as a condition that involves how our body functions, how we feel about ourselves and how we respond to various events in our lives.


Sleep troubles are important features of depression. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Feelings of sadness most of the day and down, low moods.

  • Loss of interest in things that were once found to be pleasurable

  • Significant weight gain or loss

  • Lack of energy

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Outbursts of anger

  • Irritability

  • Nervousness

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Sleeping too much


If you have trouble sleeping and also have two or more of the above symptoms, inform your health care provider.


Source: A wellness booklet from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Website

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