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Why don’t I get sound sleep?

Q: I am a 24 years old male suffering from sleep disturbances for the last few months. Though I was always an avid sleeper and even whistling horns wouldn't wake me up but now is a changed scenario. I lost my job and since it took me hard time getting new one, I was on alprazolam (0.5mg) for about a month (on my doctor's recommendation) and when I realised about its withdrawal effects, I left it. During the initial days it helped me knock out and then I guess my body wanted more of the same medicine and that is why I quit. Luckily I got a job during the time I was weaning off from alprazolam but since my work timings are 6.30 pm - 4.00 am, I hit the bed by 6.00 am. I do get sound sleep but that is only for 2-3 hours and post that my mind gets awake though I still lay down in the bed and get an hour or two of more sleep and that is not at all sound. Am I suffering from insomnia or something else? Please suggest if my disorders are due to my work timings or something else and if there is some sleeping medication I can rely on?

A:Your sleep disturbances are most likely due to recent change in work schedule from day job to night job. However, most of us can get adjusted to the new sleep/wake schedule. One of the common causes for problems in sleeping during the day (as in your case) are environmental disturbances (sounds related to day - telephone, sounds from outside, sounds related other people in the house, etc.) and daylight. I would strongly encourage that you taking adequate measures to eliminate most of these environmental disturbances (turning off the telephone, keeping your sleep room dark, and eliminating any noise). If you continue to have problems sleeping on average 7-8 hours despite taking adequate measures, then you may want to consult a local doctor for a non-addictive prescription medications - some of these include zolpidem, eszopiclone, & zaleplon.

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