December 3, 2022


“Dr Irena’s” Health Tips No. 14

  Difficulty Sleeping

Irena Hulson is continuing with her series of health tips, Dr Irena photowhich have been very well received by our readers, especially those who can relate to certain of the topics covered and we hope to receive and publish more in the future for your information.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see published please let us know and we will ask Irena to see what she can find on the subject.

To see more “Dr Irena” Health Tips, please visit our Portfolio site by clicking here.

By Irena Hulson

Difficulty sleeping

If you wake up and struggle to get back to sleep, there’s usually a reason.

Illness, heartburn, hot flashes, and what you eat and drink can keep you up. So can anxiety, stress, and depression.   Many people also have trouble sleeping after a troubling event such as a death or divorce.

Can't sleepWhile alcohol can make you sleepy, it won’t help you get a good night’s rest. You’re more likely to wake up when the alcohol’s effects wear off   Avoid alcohol after dinner.  More than a drink or two can keep you from getting the deep sleep you need.

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, a lot of medications can get in the way. Some anti-depressants can keep you awake, as can over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants.

Heart and blood pressure medications like beta-blockers and diuretics can also disrupt your sleep.

If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep within 15 to 20 minutes, the worst thing you can do is stay in bed and watch the clock.

Get up and go into another room. Read, take a bath, have a light snack, or do something quiet. When you feel sleepy,Counting sheep get back into bed.

Healthy sleeping habits known as sleep hygiene can help you shift from daytime frenzy to nighttime slumber.

Go to sleep when you are tired and avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. Don’t smoke near bedtime, and finish dinner several hours before going to sleep. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool, and only use it for sleeping and sex.

And don’t drink too much water. If you do, you’ll wake up because you’ll need to use the bathroom.

The word apnea means “not breathing.”  If you have sleep apnea, your airway gets blocked on and off during the night, which wakes you up. You might wake up hundreds of times a night without remembering it. Your partner might tell you that you snore loudly, snort, or gasp.

Insomnia and sleep apnea can be connected.  Sleep apnea can be Sleep Apneadangerous. People who have it have a high risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure.

A sleep diary can help you find out what’s keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Keep a record for one week of things like when you went to bed, how often you woke up during the night, and how many caffeinated drinks you had during the day.

Bring your sleep diary with you to your next doctor’s appointment to try and come up with a better sleeping plan.

If you want to sleep better, start exercising. People who exercise, especially those who exercise vigorously, report sleeping better than those who don’t.

Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days. For most people, exercising any time — even near bedtime — Exerciseis better than no exercise. If you have trouble sleeping and your doctor has told you not to exercise at night, follow that advice.

Having a fan or another “white noise” device in your room can help you tune out outside noise, such as barking dogs and loud cars.

Try not to watch TV or use a computer before bedtime. Some studies suggest the light from those devices can suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps bring on sleep.

May be tempting to turn to over-the-counter sleeping pills when you are staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, but while these medications may help you for a few days, they don’t work well in the long run.

Many people who take nonprescription sleeping pills feel tired the next day. That can be due to a “hangover” effect of the medication. These drugs may not completely stop working after eight hours.

The Sleep You Need

Individuals vary, but most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.

  • Teens require about 9 hours of sleep.
  • Infants typically need 16 hours of sleep.

After age 65, we sleep for shorter periods, but still need 7 to 8 hours. Hence, naps.

Editor’s Note

“The opinions, advice or proposals within the article are purely those of the author and do not, in any way, represent those of


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