Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have a sleep disorder?"
For about 9 or 10 years now, I've been struggling to fall asleep. Once asleep, I sleep well. Getting there is the challenge. I absolutely can not sleep unless I am so tired that I virtually pass out. This, I believe has caused me to sleep and wake at odd hours. In example, Some days I'm wide awake at 4am Pacific time, 1 to 2 days later, it's the time I'm going to bed. I'm 41 years old, I don't do drugs, and rarely drink alcohol.
Thanks for your question, and sorry to hear about your difficulty with sleeping. This can be a very frustrating problem to have, as it can affect multiple other areas of your life. It is, however, a somewhat common problem, and becomes more common as people age. I recommend that you speak with your doctor about this question. There are many medications that are available to help with this problem, but it is usually recommended that people begin with simple things first that may not require medications. Once a person starts using medications to help with sleep, it can become difficult for a person to regain normal sleep without this aid in the future, and so if there are other things that can be done, they should be done first in most situations. Exercise is a simple answer to almost everything, and adding regular exercise into your life may help you to sleep better. This should not be done immediately before going to bed, and this is the next part of the recommendation: practice good sleep hygiene. This involves avoiding TV and eating right before dinner, and modifying your activities to improve your sleep. Watching TV in bed also affects sleep, and should be avoided. Please speak with your doctor about this question.
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