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How can I have undisturbed sleep at night?

Saturday, 23 September 2006
Answered by: Dr. Ravi Singareddy
Assistant Professor
Penn State University College of Medicine
Pennsylvania, USA
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Q. I have returned to India 6 months ago. For the last two months, I am not able to sleep well. Normally I sleep around 11 pm, but I can only get sleep around 3 am. When I am not able to sleep, I smoke nearly 2 or 3 cigarettes for those 2-3 hours. For the last two months I have been going to the gym and working out for 1 hour. I am wondering, whether it is because of this that I am unable to sleep well at night. Since I am not getting enough sleep, I am not able to concentrate on my business. For last two days, I am taking a small nap of 30 minutes in my office, but even after that I am not feeling comfortable at all. For dinner, I mostly take non-vegetarian food only. Could this be one of the reasons? Please give me some tips for having a sound sleep at night.

A.  Some basic good sleep hygiene measures will help — here they are: -
  1. Have a set time to wake up (keep the same time even on weekends)
  2. When you wake up, if possible, try to have exposure to bright sun light.
  3. Avoid exercise after 5 PM and have a light dinner.
  4. Avoid smoking from 2 hours before your bed time till next morning (Quitting smoking completely is best for your overall health).
  5. Avoid caffeinated beverages, after 2 PM.
  6. If you want to nap during the day, take a brief nap (20-30 minutes) between 12 & 3 PM only - never before or after that time.
  7. For some people, relaxation exercises such as meditation/muscle relaxation prior to bedtime may help.
  8. Avoid any stimulating activity (physically or mentally stimulating activity - by this I mean avoid any interesting show, working on computer / reading an interesting book, etc.) and have the lights dim from 2 hours before bedtime.
  9. Use your bedroom/bed only for sleep OR intimacy - nothing else - No TV/Radio/Work/ Computer.
Following these measures may be difficult but if you can follow for few weeks, I am sure you will notice improvement in your sleep.

A.  Some basic good sleep hygiene measures will help — here they are: -
  1. Have a set time to wake up (keep the same time even on weekends)
  2. When you wake up, if possible, try to have exposure to bright sun light.
  3. Avoid exercise after 5 PM and have a light dinner.
  4. Avoid smoking from 2 hours before your bed time till next morning (Quitting smoking completely is best for your overall health).
  5. Avoid caffeinated beverages, after 2 PM.
  6. If you want to nap during the day, take a brief nap (20-30 minutes) between 12 & 3 PM only - never before or after that time.
  7. For some people, relaxation exercises such as meditation/muscle relaxation prior to bedtime may help.
  8. Avoid any stimulating activity (physically or mentally stimulating activity - by this I mean avoid any interesting show, working on computer / reading an interesting book, etc.) and have the lights dim from 2 hours before bedtime.
  9. Use your bedroom/bed only for sleep OR intimacy - nothing else - No TV/Radio/Work/ Computer.
Following these measures may be difficult but if you can follow for few weeks, I am sure you will notice improvement in your sleep.

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