Doc Talk #3 – Sleep

 

 

Having difficulties sleeping is a common problem.

The good news is that it may be easier to fix than you think!

How much sleep you need, varies from person to person. You generally need less sleep as you get older.

Having a good set of habits around sleep is called ‘sleep hygiene’.

The biggest mistake that people who struggle with sleep tend to make is lying in bed when you cannot sleep.

  • Don’t go to bed until you are tired.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t lie in bed trying to get back to sleep. Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes and if you are not asleep, get up out of bed, go into another room and do something boring and don’t go back to bed until you feel tired.

Lots of people see sleeping pills as the first resort… but some of them are addictive, some have been associated with an increased risk of dementia and lots of them are ineffective… if you take a sleep pill every night it just stops work. And also there is a big hangover effect from sleeping pills.

It is better to modify your routine and sleep habits rather than relying on medication. You want to set up a reflex where your body associates being in bed with being asleep, rather than being awake desperately trying to get to sleep.

There is some really good information on sleep, sleep hygiene and more useful advice available here.