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Emotional and Mental Health

Lifestyle Modification for Sleep Disorders: An Effective Form of Non-pharmacological Treatment

Written by Dr. Hitesh Sharma.  

Image: Lifestyle Modification for Sleep Disorders: An Effective Form of Non-pharmacological Treatment

A sleep disorder is a form of psychiatric disorder of the sleep patterns. The poor sleep quality can be either due to deficit in sleep i.e, insomnia or excessive sleep i.e, hypersomnia.

Sleep Hygiene:

Treating a sleep disorder by good sleep hygiene or practicing good sleep habits is as effective as medicinal treatment with less chances of side effects.

  • First of all try to be punctual with the time at which you go to bed and awake in morning. This includes holidays as well.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothes before going to bed.
  • Relax before going to bed and do not indulge in any kind of strenuous activity before going to bed. Exercise should be at least 4-5 hours before sleeping.
  • Taking a nap in the late afternoon or early evening can cause nighttime sleep to be of poor quality. Limit the napping time to 10-20 minutes.
  • Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can cause insomnia at night and thus may increase daytime sleepiness. Avoid these 2-5 hours before going to bed. Alcohol can lead to repeated awakenings during the latter part of the night.
  • Medications can lead to excessive sleepiness or insomnia. If you are taking any medication always ask your physician for their effect on sleep.
  • Stress can also lead to insomnia. Meditation and stress relieving exercises like yoga can improve your sleep.
  • Avoid stimulating activities late in the evening. Watching television and radio can keep you awake.
  • Exposure to light during day is also essential. Avoid staying indoors during day for long time.
  • Eat a balanced diet with regular mealtimes. Avoid fried, spicy and heavy meals at bedtime. Have light diet for dinner.
  • Reduce weight if you are overweight. People who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea.
  • The bedroom environment should be soothing. The bedroom light should be dim but adequate. The bedroom should also be kept quiet. If bright light or noise cannot be avoided, earplugs and eye masks may be helpful. The temperature in the bedroom should neither be hot nor cold.
  • If you cannot sleep after going to bed for more than 30 minutes, then get out of bed and do some relaxing exercise and then try again.

Treatment with medicines should be the last choice that too in resistant cases.

Consult a sleep medicine physician online for queries regarding insomnia --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/sleep-medicine-physician

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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