Question: I’m 73 years, worked the graveyard shift before I retired, and now spend 10-12 hours on the computer every day. I can’t seem to shut off my mind and sleep at night. What can I do to get a good night’s rest?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
The solution here is in correct sleep hygiene. You have an adopted behavior that will be hard to adjust without help. Here are some changes that may help you get a good night’s sleep.
If you can, work in a twice-daily exercise break from your computer work.
Eliminate caffeine after 3 p.m. daily.
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day; try going to bed at 9 p.m. and waking at sunrise.
Consider a visit to your doctor for a mild sleeping pill to use for five to 10 days while you adjust your sleep cycle.
Be sure not to eat a heavy meal less within three hours of bedtime. A low-calorie snack or a small serving of warm milk or hot chocolate before bed helps some people get to sleep.
I am not averse to a glass of red wine before bed either, assuming you do not use a prescription sleep aid. Just don’t exceed two glasses of red wine daily.
These strategies should allow you to get a comfortable 10 hours of sleep. See how this works, then stop taking the sleep aid as your body adjusts to this new sleep routine. More complex sleep problems may require a recommendation from a specialist.
Keep in mind: Some people are refreshed by four hours of sleep while others need 12 hours.
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