1. Identify if you have a high level of stress.
- If you are under a lot of stress, eliminate stressors that you are able to eliminate, such as over-commitment to others.
- Make a commitment to spend time each day relaxing without interruptions.
- Have you experienced a recent traumatic event?
- Talk with a therapist or counselor to help with anxious thoughts and feelings.
2. Look for a physical cause.
- Are you taking any medications that could make it difficult for you to sleep?
- Monitor for breathing problems at night.
- Notice how comfortable your bed is and get a softer or harder mattress as needed.
- Keep a diary of your caffeine intake and times.
3. Monitor for depression.
- Have you recently experienced a serious loss?
- Watch out for repetitive thoughts about how hopeless you feel your situation currently is.
- Talk with a psychiatrist about SSRI anti-depressants.
- Talk with a therapist or counselor to work through feelings of depression.
4. Review your current sleep environment.
- Is your bedroom dark enough?
- Note the temperature in your room.
- Is your bedroom too stimulating with noise and distractions from sleep?
Tips to help with the above triggers:
- Keep a diary of your food, alcohol, and caffeine intake.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same daily.
- Block out outside light.
- Avoid taking naps.
- Avoid using the computer, video games, reading and watching TV before bed.
- Don’t read, use your computer, or watch TV in bed.
- Keep clocks out of view.
- If you can’t sleep get out of bed, go in a different room and try a relaxing activity, but do not watch TV.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
- Being a daily exercise program, or increase your physical activity during the day.
- Talk with your family doctor about taking dietary sleep supplements such as Melatonin or Valerian.
- Consider Cognitive-Behavioral Counseling to help with sleep problems.
- You can talk with your doctor about insomnia medications, but these are best left as a last resort. If you are prescribed these, keep in mind that they are for short-term use and have the potential to create dependence if not carefully monitored.