Question: I had a stroke last September and now I'm having problems sleeping at night. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to get to sleep?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
It is very common to have a disturbed sleep pattern after a stroke. Your best bet is to try to follow good sleep hygiene, by doing the following:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Don’t eat heavy meals within 2 hours of bedtime.
- No exercise within one hour of bed.
- No caffeine after 3 p.m.
- If you wake in the night, read a book briefly, then return to bed. No need to struggle to stay asleep.
- Do not eat after you have gone to bed, but it’s OK to drink water.
- Get regular daily exercise.
- Keep your room dark.
- Minimize any sounds or interruptions that might wake you up, such as your cellphone.
- No smoking or heavy drinking of alcohol close to bedtime, except for a glass of red wine (or two) daily
You can also have your doctor prescribe a short-term sleeping aid for temporary use (such as Ambien CR) to help you start correcting your sleep pattern. Be sure your doctor is aware of this problem and has screened you for more serious conditions that can disturb sleep such as apnea.
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