sleep tips from the NYTimes

I’ve been trying to get a good night’s sleep this entire week, and I think I’ve turned a corner last night. I used ambien for the first time since that little debacle almost a week ago, but I did sleep through the night and woke up rather refreshed and not nervous. In my pursuit of good sleep, I came across a good article on the New York Times titled “A Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t a Luxury; It’s a Necessity,” by Jane E. Brody. The story’s a good mix of personal experiences and a review of recent studies that emphasizes why sleep is so important.  Accompanying the article was some recommendations for a restful sleep.  Below are the ten ways they listed as alternatives to counting sheep.

1. Establish a regular sleep schedule and try to stick to it, even on weekends.
2. If you nap during the day, limit it to 20 or 30 minutes, preferably early in the afternoon.
3. Avoid alcohol in the evening, as it can disrupt sleep.
4. Don’t eat a big meal just before bedtime, but don’t go to bed hungry, either. Eat a light snack before bed, if needed, preferably one high in carbohydrates.
5. If you use medications that are stimulants, take them in the morning, or ask your doctor if you can switch to a nonstimulating alternative. If you use drugs that cause drowsiness, take them in the evening.
6. Get regular exercise during the day, but avoid vigorous exercise within three hours of bedtime.
7. If pressing thoughts interfere with falling asleep, write them down (keep a pad and pen next to the bed) and try to forget about them until morning.
8. If you are frequently awakened by a need to use the bathroom, cut down on how much you drink late in the day.
9. If you smoke, quit. Among other hazards, nicotine is a stimulant and can cause nightmares.
10. Avoid beverages and foods containing caffeine after 3 p.m. Even decaf versions have some caffeine, which can bother some people.

It’s almost bedtime for me here. I hope I will be able to sleep okay tonight and move closer to getting back to the ‘usual’ self.

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2 Comments to “sleep tips from the NYTimes”

  1. I’ve been having a very hard time sleeping in the past few months. I take drugs, tried drinking, sometimes nothing worked. Well, apparently, drinking never would have. Now, I do sleep and most often through the night, but I take a lot to get there. I am on a prescription hypnotic – Zolpidem, Stillnox outside the US – and also 2 mg of Klonopin. Sometimes, I add Tylenol PM. What I’d like to know is are these drug-induced sleeps as good for you as the “real” thing.
    Also, keep writing please. Not only do I, we, want to know how you are, but you’re helpful, warm, and genuine.

  2. Fattoush, I actually take zolpidem, not the branded ambien, but I figured it’ll be a more easily known name than saying “i take zolpidem” and have to explain what that is every time. And I’ve also done the drinking thing, which never quite pans out (it might help you go to sleep initially, but not the best long-term solution). I switched to Tylenol PM for a bit the last few days, but I do have to admit that I need the prescription stuff right now to solve this problem that I’m having.

    I also wonder if drug-induced sleep is just as ‘real’ as sleeping naturally. Sure, I’d love to get some natural sleep, but right now, I can’t….and I certainly can’t go without any type of sleep. I think I’ve been responsible the last few days with sleep meds, and when I’m on track and still take sleep meds, it seems like the sleep is ‘genuine.’ But who knows. I’m sure I’ll look that up sometime soon.

    Thank you, also, for your thoughtful encouragement. Comments like yours really do help me want to write more and write better.

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