Insomnia & Sleep Hygiene

By Katie Thelen, DO 

What is insomnia?

  • Insomnia is a problem with falling asleep or staying asleep. 

  • Insomnia can still occur in those getting enough hours of sleep, but poor quality of sleep.

  • Lack of sleep can negatively impact your work life and personal life. 

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

  • Feeling tired or sleepy during the day

  • Trouble concentrating or forgetfulness

  • Irritable, anxious, or depressed moods

  • Making frequent mistakes or getting into accidents

  • Worrying about lack of sleep

How can I improve my sleep? 

  • By practicing good “sleep hygiene!” 

  • Go to bed and wake up the same time every day.

  • Don’t force yourself to go to sleep. If you’re unable to fall asleep, try again later.

  • Sleep in a dark, cool, quiet room. Do not take any reminders of work, stress, etc. into the bedroom.

  • Avoid bright screens (including phones)!

  • Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages before bed.

  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco products before bed. 

  • Exercise several times a week, but not before bed.

Other things to try:

  • Relaxation techniques (behavioral therapy, deep breathing, meditation)

  • There are medications to help sleep, but you should first try the techniques above. 

  • Insomnia may be a symptom of anxiety or depression. Therefore, you may benefit more from an antidepressant than a sleep aid. 

  • Discuss these symptoms further with your doctor. 

Christine Weeks