Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience and a medical advice columnist for Newsmax Magazine. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: sleep | loss | hygiene | insomnia

What Can I Do About My Insomnia?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 10:16 AM

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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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