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Managing Insomnia

DO YOU have trouble sleeping? If you do, your sleep pattern may be disrupted.

It is important to synchronise you sleep pattern with your biological clock, to ensure you have a deep and satisfying sleep.

Oppose this, and you may have insomnia - a common condition that affects us due to our hectic lifestyle, work habits, and stress. The tell-tale signs are usually feeling fatigue, groggy, or having a bad mood, which may interfere with our daily routine and diminish our ability to function at peak levelS. If sleeplessness persists, the consequences can become more severe.

Here are some steps on how to manage insomnia.

Sleep on schedule - Varying your sleep times by more than an hour can disrupt your sleep quality and break your Circadian rhythm. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. By establishing a regular bedtime and wake-up time (even on the weekends), your body will adjust its internal clock.

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine at least three hours prior to bedtime If you are particularly sensitive, try not to drink coffee or soda past lunchtime. Although alcohol may make you sleepy, avoid it near bedtime, as it can actually disrupt your sleep.

Be mindful of what you eat or drink before going to bed - Your stomach should not be too full, and not too empty. Wait at least three hours after dinner before going to sleep. Digestion does not work well while you are on a full stomach, and may interrupt sleep. Do not eat heavy food prior to sleep. Similarly, avoid going to bed on an empty stomach, as it may interfere with your sleep patterns.

Meditation and reading while sitting on a comfortable chair, and listening to music can help adjust your body's level of relaxation to make a restful sleep possible.

Turn off the lights -Keep the room as dark as possible, as exposure to light when you are sleeping can affect your body's internal clock. It is one of the primary clues to the body that is either sleep time, or wake-up time.

Do not sleep during the day, reserve sleep for the night instead - If you feel sleepy during the day, try to distract yourself, talk to a friend, or do some exercise. Persistent napping during the day may detract you from the amount and quality of sleep you get at night.

Consider herbal sleep remedies - Valerian root is an herbal remedy that has been used to deal with sleep problems, and you may find it to be just the thing for you. Chamomile is another herb to help you relax, and get a good night's sleep.

Seek medical advice - If making lifestyle changes such as mentioned above does not work, see a doctor and tell him or her your sleeping problems. Various medical conditions can also cause insomnia.

Have regular checkups - Insomnia may be due to underlying factors and medical conditions such as heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, acid-reflux disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, overactive thyroid, arthritis, Parkinson and Alzheimer's disease. See a doctor and make sure your medical conditions are well treated to help prevent insomnia.
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