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How should I tackle my sleep disturbances?

Q: I am a 44 years old male suffering from sleeplessness for the last three years. I go to bed at 10 PM and at around 12 AM, I get up. After that, I am unable to sleep again. I have consulted an internal medicine doctor. He investigated and found that I am suffering from hyperthyroidism. I have been taking the medicine prescribed by him for the last one year but it hasn’t helped me in getting good sleep at night. To add, my job profile includes working on the computer and I don’t face any sleep problem during my off days. What should I do?

A:It seems like you have had the sleep disturbances for about 3 years, however, were diagnosed with thyroid disorder approximately a year ago and you are currently on thyroid medication but you continue to have sleep problems which seem to get better when you are on vacation from your work.

It is likely that the underlying thyroid disorder may have precipitated your sleep disturbances but then ongoing stress (possibly work related worries/stress) are perpetuating the sleep problems. Computer screen per se does not have any thing to do with your sleep disturbances, however, the stress, anxiety, worry related to day-to-day work may be the underlying cause. The most critical aspect in your case would be an attempt to deal with ongoing work related stress in a healthy manner, which could be done by either expressing your concerns, anxiety, and worry related to work to your friends/family, taking short breaks (5-10 minutes) in between your work, meditation, aerobic exercise, etc. Along with these you may want to talk to your doctor regarding the possibility of taking a medication for sleep. In addition, good sleep hygiene may also help - this would include having a set wake up time, avoiding caffeinated beverages prior to bed time, regular exercise (at least 3-4 hrs before bed time), and using your bed/bedroom only for sleep or intimacy, etc.

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