Coping with sleep loss

Sleep is one of the most important needs in life. Sleep allows your body to rest and restore its energy levels and is often the best way to cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from illness.

Tips For a Brighter Day

Don't assume it's normal to be tired, says Daniel Loube, M.D., pulmonologist with Providence Medical Group. Millions of adults experience occasional sleep problems, and millions more suffer from a sleep disorder.

“Lack of sleep can do more than just make you tired. It can significantly affect your physical and mental health,” says Loube. “Talk with your physician if you're having trouble getting the rest you need. There are serious medical consequences of ignoring poor sleep and help is available so you can sleep and feel better.”

Speak with your physician or provider about your sleep difficulties. Together, you can determine the need for a sleep specialist or if simple “sleep hygiene” solutions may significantly improve your sleep.

“Sleep Hygiene” Solutions For a Better Nights Rest

  • Establish a regular sleep/wake schedule.
  • Get up at the same time 7 days a week.
  • Expose yourself to bright light when you wake up.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and chocolate late in the day.
  • Exercise every day – exercise improves sleep.
  • Set aside time to clear your mind at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid a visible bedroom clock with a lighted dial. Set the alarm, but turn the clock around.
  • Cut down on non-sleeping time in bed (avoid watching TV, eating, or reading in bed).

Are Sleeping Pills the Answer to a Better Night's Sleep?

Sleeping pills may seem like the fast and easy remedy. However, they are most effective for shortterm use and, even then, should be administered only under a physician's guidance. For more severe or chronic sleep problems, see your physician or provider. He or she can offer nonmedicinal approaches, strategies and treatments that can help you relax, fall asleep and stay asleep so that you wake up refreshed and alert.

For information about insomnia and sleep disorders visit www.providence.org/sleep

GoodHealth News - Providence Health Plans