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The Stay-Alert Secret of Caffeine

Caffeine Might Show the Way to Better Sleep, Researchers Say

Sleep Problems Common

Many people have trouble falling or staying asleep, and caffeine isn't the only culprit. "Insomnia and sleep loss are very common problems," says Greene.

"In addition, all the major psychiatric disorders -- including depression, schizophrenia, and posttraumatic stress disorder -- have sleep disruption as a prominent symptom," he continues.

If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to talk to your doctor about it. Possibly, you could be referred to a sleep clinic for diagnosis.

You might also consider whether stress, illness, or medications are factors. Getting too much caffeine or alcohol and keeping irregular hours can also make sleep suffer.

Tips for Better Sleep

If medical problems aren't causing sleep trouble, these "sleep hygiene" tips might help:

  • Stick to a regular bedtime schedule. Get out of bed at the same time each morning (even on weekends and holidays).
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Avoid stressful activities and vigorous exercise for two hours before going to bed.
  • Before going to bed, try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Use earplugs or eye shades if needed.
  • Leave the bedroom if you can't sleep. Go into another room and read or do something relaxing and quiet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid substances that contain caffeine (such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, or diet pills).
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine before bed.

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