Insomnia is very common today. In fact, over 60 million people in the U.S. suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives. This means that about 1 out of every 3 adults in America has trouble sleeping.
Insomnia includes problems with falling asleep for most people. It may also include problems with staying asleep during the night. Some people with insomnia also find themselves waking up much too early in the morning, regardless of when they went to sleep.
Sleep logs are sleep diaries that can help clarify sleep time and may help determine the factors that may contribute to sleep issues. Sleep logs may be kept for anywhere from 5 nights to 2 weeks. The Sleep Foundation's sleep log is a 5-night diary that keeps track of mornings and before bedtimes separately. It is often helpful for monitoring changes in sleep hygiene. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has a 2-week log that is a simplified version of the Sleep Foundation log. In the American Academy of Sleep Medicine log, patients are able to obtain an objective measure of how much time they actually spend awake and how much time they spend asleep.
The doctor will help each patient create a customized plan to deal with insomnia. Some of the most effective suggestions for improved sleep hygiene include: Keeping a consistent schedule, not "sleeping in" on weekends, avoiding napping, maintaining a calming sleep environment, blocking out auditory sleep disturbances, using stress reduction routines before bed, not watching the alarm clock, creating a relaxing bedtime ritual, eating healthy, avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bed, avoiding alcohol, exercising regularly, cessation of smoking, and avoiding excess fluid intake before bedtime. Patients who put as many of these tips into action as possible are often able to conquer their insomnia under the guidance of the doctor.
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