Pharmacy Corner
Counting Sheep Is Not Working: Insomnia What can I do to help me sleep?

Your doctor will normally recommend you try to practice good “sleep hygiene.” Sleep hygiene is a group of things you can do every day to improve your sleep. They not only work, but they are free and can be done from home.

Here are a few suggestions for you:1,6

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Try to relax at bedtime try something like a warm bath
  • Avoid afternoon naps
  • Exercise every day (but not right before bed as this might give you an energy boost before you try to sleep)
  • Make sure your room is perfect for sleep.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Make sure your bedroom is not too hot or too cold
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and eating too much at night.
  • Wind down. Spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity (e.g. reading).
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

Think about doing a sleep diary. It is a great tool for your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about how you sleep.

Other treatments that have been shown to helps are:6,7

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps change bad feelings and attitudes about sleep.
  • Relaxation Therapy such as hypnosis or meditation. There are also iPhone and Android compatible apps that can help relax your brain at bedtime. There are some examples that were voted the best sleep iPhone and Android apps of the year.
  • Sleep Restriction Therapy decreases the time you spend trying to fall asleep and increasing the time spent asleep.

Ask your doctor if any of these sleep therapies are right for you.