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What Can I do to Sleep Better?

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.   |   Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 10:40 AM

Question: I used to sleep very well, but lately I can’t get to sleep unless I take something, like melatonin or chamomile tea. But I still do not get a good night's sleep. I am almost 80, so maybe that is the reason? Is there anything I can do to increase the number of hours of sleep I get?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Sleep hygiene is the "in thing" now — going to bed and waking at the same time very day, avoiding TV while in bed, and taking care not to consume caffeine, alcohol, or food close to bedtime.
It's also a good idea to be sure that you don't have sleep apnea. You can also ask your doctor to give you a short-term federally approved sleeping aid for sleep. Once your sleep habit is adjusted, you should be able to enjoy a full night's sleep.
Often, we need less sleep as we age. But in many cases, sleep is complicated by afternoon naps or drugs. Sometimes eliminating or reducing napping, or modifying medication, is all that is needed. 

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Many strategies can help you get a good night's sleep, such as going to bed and waking at the same time very day and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or food close to bedtime.

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