Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: sleep | loss | hygiene | insomnia

What Can I Do About My Insomnia?

Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 05:12 PM

Question: I’m 73 years, worked the graveyard shift before I retired, and now spend 10-12 hours on the computer every day. I can’t seem to shut off my mind and sleep at night. What can I do to get a good night’s rest?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
The solution here is in correct sleep hygiene. You have an adopted behavior that will be hard to adjust without help. Here are some changes that may help you get a good night’s sleep.
 
If you can, work in a twice-daily exercise break from your computer work.
 
Eliminate caffeine after 3 p.m. daily.
 
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day; try going to bed at 9 p.m. and waking at sunrise.
 
Consider a visit to your doctor for a mild sleeping pill to use for five to 10 days while you adjust your sleep cycle.
 
Be sure not to eat a heavy meal less within three hours of bedtime. A low-calorie snack or a small serving of warm milk or hot chocolate before bed helps some people get to sleep.
I am not averse to a glass of red wine before bed either, assuming you do not use a prescription sleep aid. Just don’t exceed two glasses of red wine daily.
 
These strategies should allow you to get a comfortable 10 hours of sleep. See how this works, then stop taking the sleep aid as your body adjusts to this new sleep routine. More complex sleep problems may require a recommendation from a specialist.
 
Keep in mind: Some people are refreshed by four hours of sleep while others need 12 hours.

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Good sleep 'hygiene' is critical to getting a good night's sleep.
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