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11/15/2010

Behavioral treatments for insomnia

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    * Establish a rhythm; go to bed at about the same time and get up at the same time every morning (including your day off). If you regulate your sleep schedule and avoid taking naps during the day, you should eventually find yourself getting sleepy around your usual bedtime and waking up only when you want to in the morning.
    * Limit your time spent in bed to time spent sleeping (and maybe having sex :-)). If you use your bed to do wakeful things like reading, watching TV, or getting work done, then when you finally climb into bed hoping to sleep, you'll be subconsciously keeping yourself awake to do all those other things.
    * Exercise regularly. Make sure you're getting your exercise in the morning or afternoon; exercising within three or four hours of your bedtime can actually cause insomnia.
    * Make your sleeping environment conducive to sleep. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. If you share a bed with someone who snores, buy some nasal strips. Do not allow cats and dogs to sleep in your bed. The most important consideration in the bedroom is your ability to sleep there.
    * Watch what you eat and drink before bed. Eating a large meal late in the evening will not only promote weight gain, but can also make it hard to sleep. If you drink too many fluids before going to bed, your bladder will wake you up all night, and if there's caffeine in those fluids, you probably won't fall asleep in the first place.
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Dr. Gibbson
 
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