Tips on getting a good nights kip

Stress. Work. Kids. Managing a household. These are just a few of life’s daily obstacles that keep people from getting enough sleep. On top of the tasks that prevent you from going to bed are the worries that keep you up once you get there, such as relationship issues, family illness or financial stress.

The MayoClinic.com Sleep Center offers information on sleep, ranging from tips for better sleep, to sleep disorders, to how to stay awake at work. A slide show on proper sleeping positions illustrates how sleeping on the stomach can be hard on the back and offers tips on how to alleviate stress while sleeping in that position.

Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint and about one of three people experience it at some point in their lives. Insomnia is a lack of sleep that occurs on a regular basis, often for no apparent reason. The inability to get a good night’s sleep can affect energy level, mood and overall health. Fatigue, at any age, leads to diminished mental alertness and concentration.

The average person needs about eight hours of sleep per night. However, some people require only about four or five hours, while others need nine or 10.

John Shepard Jr., M.D., medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester says, “What works for one person doesn’t always work for another.’’ He advises sticking to a sleep routine, even on weekends; avoiding eating or drinking a lot before bedtime; avoiding caffeine and nicotine; and exercising. Dr. Shepard also suggests keeping the bedroom slightly cooler than other rooms in the house.

Some sleeplessness may be caused by an underlying medical condition, and a physician may need to be consulted. In some cases, a physician may prescribe sleep aids.

For new parents, sleep may be scarce because you’re wakened at various hours to care for an infant. Sleeping in a separate room from your baby may help both parents and baby rest better.

When children get older, they sometimes make bedtime a headache for parents. Sleep is important to a child’s daily routine and encouraging a child to sleep in his/her own bed, and setting a routine sleep pattern will make nights more restful for everyone.

The MayoClinic.com Sleep Center is sponsored by Sanofi-Synthelabo.

MayoClinic.com helps fulfill Mayo Clinic’s mission to serve as a reliable source of health information and tools for the public. Established in 1995, it has grown in response to users needs for trustworthy answers and practical tools that can make a difference in people’s lives.

MayoClinic.com offers health decision guides, interviews with Mayo Clinic doctors and an A-Z disease and condition reference. It offers suggestions about staying healthy, dealing with a new diagnosis and managing chronic diseases and medical conditions. http://www.MayoClinic.com

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