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Help! I can't sleep...what can I do?

By June 22, 2008 - 6:02am
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I have so much trouble sleeping. Help!

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EmpowHER Guest

When I took estrogen I slept so much better, but with the bad press re estrogen and cancer I don't want to take it???

June 25, 2008 - 6:31pm

Mondays are my usual sleep deprived days, as my darling groom leaves early in the a.m. for the airport. Inasmuch as he tries really hard to not wake me, I'm such a light sleeper that I'll be up when he is.

If that's not enough, I rarely get more than 5 hours sleep, anyway. This morning, my boss and I were talking about a study conducted with a group of athletes and how getting 10 hours sleep every night significantly improved their athletic performance compared to other athletes who were not getting 10 hours sleep. My boss and I couldn't imagine being able to stay in bed that long!

I often think our relatively affluent, Westernized, industrial society is at the root of the problem. We are expected to work long hours, rarely take vacations or time off, don't know how to take time to enjoy a meal with friends or family (how long does it take you to eat dinner at home?) and feel as though we're constantly in a rush to keep up with someone or something we need to get done.

Short of being knocked out with an antihistamine, it's really hard for me to relax. Tai Chi is an excellent exercise to help learn to relax while maintaining physical fitness (it's not just exercise, it's a martial art), and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Besides, it's fun!

Running, or a long walk, is also an excellent way to burn off energy. Did your grandparents ever go for their daily constitution?

Learning how to say "no" to taking on another volunteer activity or other task also helps bring more calm to your life as you have that much more time for yourself.

De-cluttering your surroundings, removing the TV or CD/radio from your bedroom, installing soft lights and darkening curtains in your bedroom also help.

First, though, you have to find out why you aren't getting enough sleep and go from there.

June 23, 2008 - 5:58pm


I just saw this new story come into the EmpowHer.com News Department. The news story is for elderly who can't sleep, but this type of practice can help anyone.

Sleep Problems in Elderly May Be Helped by Tai Chi Chih

Best of health,


June 23, 2008 - 1:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

Are you more stressed than usual for some reason?

I know when I've got a lot going on and feel overwhelmed about things at work, at home, etc., I'll have trouble going to sleep. Have you had a change in your life recently or has this been going on a while?


Kristin Davis

June 22, 2008 - 10:12am

April, Unfortunately, I think many women share your inability to get any good shuteye on a daily basis. In fact, there was a news story out today about just how prevalent lack of sleep is ...

And I think Alison has a good point in trying to identify the factors that keep you from getting the sleep you need.

And if you haven't already tried them, the National Sleep Foundation offers these tips:

* Exercising regularly. It's best to complete a workout at least a few hours before bedtime, however.
* Finishing eating at least two to three hours before bedtime.
* Avoiding caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.
* Maintaining a regular bed and wake time schedule, including weekends.
* Creating a sleep-conducive environment that's dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
* Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillow.

While, it's not for everyone, I have a girlfriend who swears by a half a glass of red wine each night. I also found yoga helpful and tried a supplement made with magnolia that helps me sleep.

June 22, 2008 - 8:14am

I am sorry you can't sleep...that is so frustrating and effects EVERY thing else in your life.

Can you tell us more about the factors surrounding your sleep troubles? So many factors can effect sleep, including: medical conditions, stress, age, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, sleeping conditions, work conditions, sleep/wake time, diet, alcohol, caffeine and other drug use, exercise or physical activity...and more!

The National Sleep Foundation has a lot of information and self assessments.

"Short term or acute insomnia, which is often due to a temporary situation such as stress, jet lag, change or loss in a job or relationship, can last up to one month and is treatable. It is important to address the underlying cause. Effective and safe prescription medications can help.

Long-term, or chronic, insomnia, which is experienced for a month or longer, can be secondary to causes such as medical, physical or psychological conditions, another sleep disorder, or medications and substances. It is essential to get a medical diagnosis. In addition to appropriate use of medications, education on behavioral and other techniques are well as good sleep practices can improve sleep".

June 22, 2008 - 6:32am
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