Sleep Problems, Age 12 and Older - Home Treatment

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Avoid activities that might keep you from a good night's sleep:

  • Do not take naps during the day, especially in the evening.
  • Do not drink or eat caffeine after 3:00 p.m. This includes coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Nicotine can disrupt sleep and reduce total sleep time. Smokers report more daytime sleepiness and minor accidents than do nonsmokers, especially in younger age groups. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. It may make you sleepy but also will probably wake you up after a short time.

Try a nonprescription medicine, such as Nytol, Sleep-Eze, or Sominex. Use nonprescription medicines wisely since they can cause daytime confusion, memory loss, and dizziness. Continued use of sleeping pills may actually increase your sleeplessness (rebound insomnia). If you take any prescription medicines, talk with your doctor before trying any nonprescription sleep medicines.

Melatonin is a popular herbal remedy for sleep problems. Experts disagree about its usefulness for sleep problems. Before using any treatment, it is important to consider the risks and benefits of the treatment. For more information, see the topic Melatonin.

If you have several nights of trouble sleeping, review all of your prescription and nonprescription medicines with your doctor or pharmacist to determine whether the medicines you take could be the cause of your sleep problem.

You may have sleep problems after traveling (jet lag), especially if you change time zones.

Sleep Problems: Dealing With Jet Lag

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Your sleep problem becomes worse.
  • Your sleep problem lasts longer than 4 weeks.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

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