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.

 

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