4 things I do to get more and better sleep

I have often struggled with sleep.  When I was heavier, I had sleep apnea and had poor quality sleep.  Even after losing weight, other challenges remain, though.  And we know that inadequate sleep contributes to weight gain.

As we get older, sleep becomes more fragment.  Insomnia increases.  For me, pain from my neck arthritis can awaken.  This time of year, as dawn comes earlier, the sun awakens me sometimes earlier than I might like.

Four things that have helped me sleep better:

  1. I often take pain medicine (aspirin or aleve or motrin; tylenol) before bed if my neck is bothering me.
  2. I wear a sleep mask to keep the early morning sun out.
  3. I usually take melatonin 3 mg prolonged release an hour before bedtime.
  4. I stop drinking my green tea after 5p; I switch to herbals.

Some other suggestions for insomniacs:

The idea is to stick to a schedule that maximizes your “sleep efficiency” — the amount of time in bed you spend sleeping, instead of tossing and hoping that sleep will descend. That involves four rules: Reduce the time spent in bed. Get up at the same time every day. Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy. Don’t stay in bed if you’re not sleeping.

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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