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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Insomnia is a condition that makes it hard to fall or stay asleep. Lack of sleep can lead to attention or memory problems during the day. You may also be moody, depressed, clumsy, or have headaches. Stress, medical conditions, and medicines can increase your risk of insomnia.
You may need any of the following:
- Sleep medicines may help you sleep more regularly. Sleep medicines are available with or without a doctor's order. If you do not get a doctor's order, ask which medicine to get. Ask how much to take, and how often to take it.
- Antianxiety medicine may help relax you so you feel less anxious.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) as directed:
Your PHP may refer you to a behavioral therapist to help you find ways to decrease stress and improve sleep. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
What you can do to improve your sleep:
- Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Turn on white noise, such as a fan, to help you relax. Do not use your bed for any activity that will keep you awake. Do not read, exercise, eat, or watch TV in your bedroom.
- Create a sleep schedule. This will help you form a sleep routine. Keep a record of your sleep patterns, and any sleeping problems you have. Bring the record to follow-up visits with caregivers.
- Get up if you do not fall asleep within 30 minutes. Move to another room and do something relaxing for 30 minutes or until you become sleepy.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise may help you sleep better. Exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and smoking before bedtime. Only drink caffeine in the morning. Do not eat a heavy meal right before you go to bed. Eat a light snack as directed.
- Do not take naps. Naps could make it hard for you to fall asleep at bedtime.
Contact your PHP if:
- Your symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness or depression get worse.
- You begin to use drugs or alcohol to fall asleep or stay awake.
- You have questions or concerns about your medicines, condition, or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You feel you may harm yourself or others.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.