Big awake at 3 a.m.? Readers offer advice on insomnia

Bored to sleep. For some of our readers, the most effective sleep aid at 3 a.m. is a boring book or a nice sound. Many have told us tha...

For some of our readers, the most effective sleep aid at 3 a.m. is a boring book or a nice sound. Many have told us that these distractions keep them from thinking about the state of the world and getting agitated.

Karen Sandness in Minneapolis said that every time she woke up in the middle of the night she would grab a non-fiction book, “preferably a difficult and detailed book.” With the right book, she said, “there’s no problem ‘I can’t wait to see what happens next’. The book will fall out of my hands and onto my face after a few pages.

Some of the methods we’ve heard about might raise sleep experts’ eyebrows. Susan L. Paul, a retired nurse in Asheville, North Carolina, told us that when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she puts her laptop to bed and watches the “Great British Baking Show” on Netflix.

Sleep physicians generally urge people not to use computer screens in bed because they emit blue light that disrupts sleep. But Ms. Paul enjoys cooking and finds that watching her favorite baking show has a calming effect that quickly makes her fall asleep. “It helps if you’ve seen it all at least a few times and remember the bakers as old friends,” she said. “It’s very relaxing, and I usually fall asleep again before the dough has time to rise a second time.”

Food is something a lot of people have told us they rely on. Juliet Jones in Memphis said that over the years she has tried various strategies to deal with her occasional sleeplessness. She counted sheep, took melatonin, listened to soothing music, and used pleasant scents like lavender oil. But the only thing that seems to work for her is to get out of bed, go down to her kitchen and have a small glass of hot milk with a digestive cookie, which she learned when she grew up in Britain.

Ms Jones assumed it worked for her because she dined early and tended to get hungry at night. Indeed, studies have shown that certain foods can impact the way you sleep, including carbohydrates, which tend to help people fall asleep faster. “A little bland something in the stomach seems to do the trick,” she said. “That’s what my dad used to do, and now at 70, me too.”

In the food and beverage department, a number of readers struggling with insomnia told us that their sleep improved quickly after quitting alcohol. If you drink most nights of the week, it could affect your sleep. A nightcap or two can help you fall asleep faster. But it can also lead to more nocturnal awakenings. If you tend to drink at night, try cutting back on your alcohol intake for three to five days to see if it affects the quality of your sleep.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Big awake at 3 a.m.? Readers offer advice on insomnia
Big awake at 3 a.m.? Readers offer advice on insomnia
Newsrust - US Top News
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