Supportive Care Clinic
What is it?
Insomnia is when a person has frequent trouble falling or staying asleep. Symptoms include trouble falling asleep, waking often in the night, waking early in the morning and being unable to fall back asleep, not feeling rested in the morning or feeling tired during the day, and restlessness, and anxiety as bedtime approaches.
What causes it?
Insomnia can be caused by a variety of things including: stress, depression, anxiety, too much caffeine, alcohol, some medicines as those used to treat heart problems and cancer, pain, shortness of breath, and other discomfort caused by an illness, and poor sleep habits.
Why is it important to keep insomnia under control?
Insomnia results in fatigue. It may be difficult to do your daily activities. It may affect your thinking-some people complain of difficulty concentrating or with memory. It may also affect your mood.
What to do:
- Establish a regular sleep routine – a regular bedtime and wake-up time and stick to this schedule even on weekends.
- Avoid taking naps, especially after 3PM
- Exercise regularly (as recommended by your health care provider)
- Keep light levels very low after sunset and keep bedroom very dark
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex, not for reading or watching television
- Go to bed when you are drowsy and get up when you are wide awake
- Avoid caffeine, other stimulants, cigarettes and alcohol.
- Learn to use relaxation exercises.
- Meditate for 20 minutes before you go to bed.
- Read something light or entertaining just before you go to bed, to get your mind off the day’s troubles.
- Consider using “white noise”, such as a fan blowing
- Try not to focus on falling asleep, for example, by “clock watching.” If you are awake for more than 20 minutes, leave the bed and do not go back to bed until you are ready to sleep.
- Keep a “to do” journal. Before sleep, write down all the things you are worrying about. The write down what you can do tomorrow. Mark the other things “later in the week.” This will help clear your mind of worry.
- Counseling to help resolve psychological problems or reduce stress.