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Insomnia: simple tips to help get more sleep

May 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're having trouble waking up in the morning because you didn't get enough sleep, there are some things you can do to get relief from restless nights.

Because of hormones, pregnancy and menopause, Dr. Kimberly Justice says insomnia in general is more prevalent in women than it is in men.

"You get to a point where you become desperate," said Kara Newcomb, who has insomnia. "I got to a point where I was literally living on, every day, like maybe three hours of sleep."

Anyone can benefit from some restless night remedies. Cut off caffeine eight hours before you go to sleep and keep your bedtime consistent.

"Try not to go over two hours difference between the weekdays and weekend," said Justice.

Make a playlist of calming music, but don't listen to the radio. The randomness of songs and commercials can keep your brain alert. The worse your sleep problems are, the cooler your bedroom should be. Start at 68 degrees and lower your thermometer to 65 or even 60 if you still can't fall asleep.

And don't go to bed hungry. Cherries, bananas, oatmeal and toast are all good snacks that also contain things that can make you sleepy.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, don't nap during the day. It reduces your chances of getting a full night's sleep and can mess with your internal clock, making your insomnia even worse.

You may want to try therapy. Addressing the underlying issues of insomnia, such as job or family stressors, can be key to getting a good night's sleep.

As for Newcomb, counseling and herbal supplements are helping her conquer insomnia.

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