What Do You Do To Help You Sleep?

Another article that talks about insomnia, and employing good sleep hygiene:

Help For Middle-Of-The-Night Insomnia, The Wall Street Journal, updated 27 June 2016

They define it:

About 30% of American adults have symptoms of some sort of insomnia each year, according to scientific studies. Chronic insomnia is generally defined as having difficulty sleeping at least three times a week for three months or more.

Three times a week for 3 months or more? That has to be more than 30%!

They make suggestions. Good, but typical … Cut back on light, especially blue light from devices. Go to bed the same time every night, if you can. Don’t eat in the middle of the night. (Not said but also helpful: No caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.) Don’t fret if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep. (Ha.) Don’t look at the clock. (Ha. Ha.)

These two points stood out for me and I’m going to try them:

The best thing to do to prevent an occasional bout of middle-of-the-night insomnia from turning into a chronic problem seems simple: “Nothing,” says Dr. Perlis. “Don’t sleep in. Don’t nap. Don’t go to bed early the next day and everything will turn out fine.”

Compensating for sleep loss can fuel chronic insomnia, because it can make it tougher to sleep the next night. It is better to use caffeine to power through the day, Dr. Perlis says.

I’m not inclined to sleep in, but napping and going to bed earlier the next day, if possible, happen. They just happen. Power through the day? OK. I’ll try it.

And this:

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, known as CBT-I, typically includes “sleep restriction,” or limiting the amount of time patients spend in bed when they’re unable to sleep. … In May 2016, the American College of Physicians recommended that CBT-I be used first, before medication, to treat chronic insomnia.

Here, again, is that sleep restriction advice.

The older I get, the more people I know who take pills to sleep. Pills are habit-forming. Pills have side effects. Pills are risky in that they leave you drowsy the next day. According to the FDA, driving is a no-no after a night on pills. Do you think people adhere to that?

Interesting that they choose this photo to go with the article when most people who suffer insomnia are older:

Older adults are more likely to wake up overnight.


What do you do to help you sleep?

6 thoughts on “What Do You Do To Help You Sleep?

  1. David D

    I guess I am lucky and never have much trouble nodding off. I have never tried a sleeping aid, but I do prefer the room to be as dark as possible. During college, I was taking more than a full load of classes, working 30-35 hr weeks, and running a small business I started. Sleep was in short supply. So, I taught myself to nap by repeating the word “sleep” over and over in my head, so that I could think of nothing else. It worked! Now, I keep a pretty regular schedule and don’t nap very often, but I still can say that word when I lay down to sleep and I will nod off in a matter of seconds.


    1. Bix Post author

      You know what? I’m going to try that. “Sleep” I usually resort to counting but get frustrated when I lose count and have to start over.


  2. Marj

    I never have trouble going to sleep, but let 2 o’clock (or around there) roll around and I’m awake. Have gone ahead and gotten up, coffee and all that, but pay for it during that day. What works most of the time is either count breaths, or count from 1-10 back and forth until asleep again (it usually works). If those fail, I turn on the light, read for about an hour and it seems to turn off the monkey mind from before and sleep returns.


  3. Melinda

    When you lose count, you’re probably starting to fall asleep! Counting probably demands too much conscious attention, and conscious thought keeps you awake! I often try just “following my breathing,” not in an analytical or counting fashion, but just paying slight attention to the ins and outs of my breaths. That works unless I’m unusually stressed out.


  4. Bix Post author

    I don’t know if I was extra tired last night but saying “Sleep” did seem to lull me. There’s something about the word too. Like it’s redirecting me to the task at hand. Maybe it’s just the memory of my mother screaming “Sleep!” to us when we were kids.



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