Sleep is so important that even losing an hour or two a night can interfere with a person’s judgment. With interrupted sleep, what can eventually happen is “an involuntary pattern of poor relaxation and sleep interference with associated depression and poor functioning levels,” The sleepless cycle can be broken by medication, but believes that “behavioural techniques such as meditation are also very helpful.”
Before trying medication, consider the following suggestions:
- Go to sleep at about the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Try not to nap after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
- If you are not sleepy, instead of tossing and turning, get up and try quiet, relaxing activities until you feel sleepy, then return to bed.
- Perform relaxing activities in the hour before bedtime—try meditation.
- Avoid doing stimulating, frustrating or anxiety provoking activities in bed or in the bedroom such as watching television, studying, or balancing the checkbook
- Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is good for both sleep and overall health but it should be completed at least five hours before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine after noontime. This includes coffee, tea, soda or other caffeinated beverages, as well as chocolate late in the day.
- Stop smoking an hour or two before bedtime.
- Limit alcohol, especially before bedtime. Sleeping pills and the nation of pill poppers, young and old (Providence Journal)