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How can sleep disorder be treated?

Q: I am a 63 years old man who has been suffering from sleep disorder. I wake up at unusual hours - like 1 am and remain awake. I also do shanthi asana regularly for half an hour to get proper sleep at night. But there is no improvement in my sleeping habits. I acquired this habit from my college days. That time I used to go to bed at 8.30 pm, get up at 11 pm and study up to 4 am and then go to bed. I have consulted a doctor who asked me to take alprazolam (2.5 mg). How can sleep disorder be treated? I avoid watching television at night.

A:Regular and optimum sleep is important for daily functioning. I appreciate the difficulty and exhaustion you must experience because of disturbed sleep. Disturbed sleep can be due to many factors particularly stress. Since you are suggesting that there are no other problems and you are happy and stress free then my assumption is that this is purely a sleep routine problem. You are also doing the right things in terms of regular exercise and not watching television at night. One suggestion that I would like you to incorporate is to go to bed an hour or so later that usual. Also make sure you wake up at the same time every morning and do not rest or sleep during the day. This will increase your level of exhaustion but let it build up and stick to the set timings. Since you will be tired your body will try a catch up with rest and hopefully you might slip in to a better routine. Remember that sleep cycles are very slow to change and in your case because you have had a particular habit since your college days it might be even slower. But keep up the effort and you are likely to see some changes.

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