文／ Dr. Chris Cheng
Insomnia (失眠症) is defined by a difficult initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, or waking up earlier than desired. It can be associated with medical conditions, psychiatric illness, other sleep disorders including sleep apnea, medications, or be independent of other problems.
Although medications can be prescribed that can help with sleep, it is essential that every person having trouble with sleep practice good sleep hygiene.
Good sleep hygiene consists of the following:
●Sleep as long as necessary to feel rested (usually seven to eight hours for adults) and then get out of bed
●Maintain a regular sleep schedule
●Try not to force sleep
●Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
●Avoid alcohol near bedtime (eg, late afternoon and evening)
●Avoid smoking or other nicotine intake, particularly during the evening
●Adjust the bedroom environment as needed to decrease stimuli (eg, reduce ambient light, turn off the television or radio)
●Resolve concerns or worries before bedtime
●Exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes, preferably more than four to five hours prior to bedtime
●Avoid daytime naps, especially if they are longer than 20 to 30 minutes or occur late in the day
Patients with insomnia may associate their bed and bedroom with the fear of not sleeping or other arousing events. One technique used by sleep specialists to treat insomnia is called “stimulus control therapy”.
You can do it yourself or recommend to friends if he or she has insomnia. The steps are:
1. Go to bed only when sleepy.
2. Do not watch television, read, eat, or worry while in bed. Use bed only for sleep and sex.
3. Get out of bed if unable to fall asleep within twenty minutes and go to another room. Return to bed only when sleepy. Repeat this step as many times as necessary throughout the night.
4. Set an alarm clock to wake up at a fixed time each morning including weekends.
5. No naps during the day.
Consider seeing your doctor should you continue to have poor sleep despite taking measures above.