Have you been tossing and turning and wondering if you will ever fall asleep? You are not alone—over the course of a year, up to one fifth of adults experience insomnia.Insomnia also more common in older people. Learn why sleep is so important and what you can do to improve yours.
During sleep, the body repairs itself and revitalizes organs and muscles. In addition, sleep is important for proper functioning of the immune system and the nervous system. Lack of sleep can result in:
Changes in your daily routine may help you sleep better at night. These include:
Once you are home for the night, these steps may help to prompt your body for sleep:
If your doctor advised you take sleep medication, take them as directed. Sleep medications should only be used temporarily and as a last resort. Most are taken within an hour of bedtime and should only be used when you plan on getting a full night of sleep.
For those who want better sleep without the use of drugs, light therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy have both been shown to have some benefit.
In some cases, insomnia may the cause of, or be caused by other health conditions. Talk to your doctor about getting proper treatment so you can get a better night's sleep.
National Institute on Aging
National Sleep Foundation
Better Sleep Council Canada
The Canadian Sleep Society
Explore insomnia. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso. Updated December 13, 2011. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Insomnia and sleep. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Healthy sleep tips. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Insomnia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2013. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Insomnia fact sheet. Office on Women's health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/insomnia.html. Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Melatonin. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary. Updated August 22, 2013. Accessed March 4, 2014.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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