Difficulty with Sleep? by Dalip Tibb, M.D.
Sleep is very important for the functioning of our bodies as it helps restore the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscle systems. Without restful sleep, these bodily functions will not work optimally. Sleep deprivation can cause a multitude of health issues. It is well known and studied that there are associations with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, immune disorders and cognitive impairment in people that do not sleep well. Studies have shown that sleeping better promotes longevity.
Sleep Help, Sleep Hygiene and Stimulants
There are many things you can do to improve your sleep. One of the best things you can do is to avoid stimulants. Stimulants affecting sleep can be broken down into many categories. There are drinks that can be stimulating such as those containing caffeine and alcohol. There are foods that can be stimulating including chocolate, certain fruits and foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate). Even foods rich in aged cheese contain a substance called tyramine that affects sleep. There are drugs and medications that can be stimulating. These can include certain prescription medications such as steroids, mood and anxiety medications (SSRI and similar medications), and ADHD medications (containing amphetamine like substance). Certain supplements such as Ginseng can be stimulating. Even chemicals in toothpaste such as Triclosan may affect sleep. There are also other environmental stimulants that one should be careful of such as bright artificial light. This is now very common with use of smartphones.
- Avoid food and drink stimulants as listed above, especially several hours before bed or even entirely.
- Avoid TV and smart phone use while in bed preparing for sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and noise free when trying to sleep.
- Avoid exercise before going to sleep.
- Discuss use of stimulating medications with your doctor if having difficulty with sleep.
Supplements and Medication
There are options to help with poor sleep if the things above do not help. Most over-the-counter sleep aids use anti-histamines as they have a side effect of drowsiness. These can unfortunately cause daytime grogginess or drowsiness and can have other unwanted side effects. Prescription medications are an option but most are considered controlled substances and can be discussed with your doctor. Melatonin and herbal sleep aids are an option also and are available without prescription.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.