Better Sleep by Labor Day
WebMD tells you how to combat insomnia during the lazy, hazy days of summer -- and beyond.
Sleep Woes That Know No Season continued...
Culprit 4: Children or Bed Partner
"If you have a young child, not a night goes by in which sleep is not disrupted," he says. An easy solution is to have one parent on call each evening, allowing the other to get his or her zzz's. If your bed partner snores or likes to read into the wee hours, try earplugs or eyeshades. And if snoringsnoring persists, try getting your mate to a physician who can get at the root of the problem, he says.
Culprit 5: Business Travel
"Business travel demands high performance and stressstress, hectic schedules, heavy meals, and late nights -- all a recipe for poor sleep," Breus writes. He offers strategies for coping, from yoga exercises you can do in your hotel room to airplane seat selection (sitting in the middle of the plane will provide a less bumpy ride).
Part one of the program culminates with the bedroom makeover, which covers everything from silk sheets (add more to the price than the comfort level) to pillow talk (avoid stiff pillows). The section on gadgets, such as white noise machines and relaxation CDs that offer soothing sounds, is very popular, he adds.
Moving On to Boot Camp
If your sleep is still disturbed after completing the first part of the program, march on to part two: boot camp.
"Night by night, the 28-day hard-core regimented program walks you through what to do, from what time to go to bed to what to eat," Breus says. Throughout the program, you'll keep a sleep diary to record your choices and note the progress you make.
As you would imagine, week one covers the basics. On night one, for example, you'll start to figure out the right bedtime and wake time for you.
On night two, you'll develop a bedtime routine. "Key to this is a 'power-down' hour, in which activities such as using the computer and reading work material are prohibited. One trick so you don't forget to 'power down' is to set your alarm clock for one hour before you go to bed," he says.
On night three, you'll evaluate daytime habits and routines, such as alcohol and caffeine consumption, that can affect sleep, while night four calls for another look at the bedroom environment. Night five offers stretches and relaxation techniques you can use during your 'power-down' hour, while night six focuses on food. Meals that are high in carbs and low to medium in protein are good for sleep; heavy spices are a big loser at dinnertime.
Night seven covers the right time to exercise. A typical myth buster: Exercise at the end of the day is a bad idea. "This is not necessarily true, Breus says. "For many, exercise provides the perfect preamble for sleep."