7 Steps to Fight Insomnia

By Dr. Roger Hirchak, VP of Medical Services, Shell Point Retirement Community

 Insomnia is a commonly encountered clinical problem that is responsible for considerable anguish and anxiety for many of us and is a frequent complaint in the doctor’s office. Causes can include stress, sleep schedule, indiscretions of sleep hygiene guidelines, medical disorders, medications, ingested substances, lifestyle and circadian rhythm factors, psychiatric disorders, and primary sleep disorders.

Following the guidelines of good sleep hygiene can restore chronically disrupted sleep patterns and fight insomnia. Try these steps and record your results.

  1. Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule
  2. Avoid naps during the day
  3. Exercise earlier in the day and not in the evening
  4. Avoid alcohol or caffeine consumption in the evening
  5. Avoid heavy or spicy meals too close to bedtime
  6. Save time for winding down and relaxing before bedtime
  7. Evaluate the conditions of the bedroom to optimize the environment for sleep

The hallmark of effective treatment for insomnia is the identification of symptoms of a sleep problem, careful evaluation of factors underlying the insomnia, development of a specific diagnosis, and then implementation of a treatment program that may involve integration of pharmacologic and other treatment modalities. Talk to your physician if you struggle with insomnia and together you can find a solution that will help you rest better.