Many people suffer from either the inability to fall asleep or the inability to stay asleep. Though individualized, most people require 7-8 hours of sleep per 24 hour period. If you find yourself falling asleep during quiet activities such as reading, being a passenger in a car, waiting in a Doctor’s office or during lectures or talks, then your body is not getting its required number of hours. Lack of adequate sleep can lend to multiple health problems including increasing headaches. The suggestions below can help you attain the adequate rest that your mind and body require.

Pick a bedtime and an awakening time that allows you at least 7 hours of rest. Go to bed the same time every night and awaken each morning at the same time, even on weekends.

Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages for 4-6 hours prior to bedtime.

Eat a light, easily digestible snack before bed. Sometimes foods high in tryptophan such as oatmeal with raisins, whole grain cereal with milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwich (if not a trigger), turkey and the old standby warm milk can help with sleep.

Maintain a regular exercise routine. Avoid exercising within 3-4 hours of bedtime.

Develop a pre-sleep routine and maintain this every night starting 15-30 minutes prior to bedtime. This helps your body and mind realize that it is time for bed.

Do quiet and restful activities to help wind down from your busy day for 1-2 hours prior to bed.

Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Maintain a regular temperature, decrease noise and disruptions, keep lights low and keep the bedroom for sleep and sexual activity. Do not do activities such as reading, watching TV or worrying. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and not worn out.

You should be able to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, if not, get out of bed. This includes times you wake up in the middle of the night. The worst thing that will happen is that your body will be exhausted and you are more likely to sleep the next night.

Sometimes the Lavender scent can help induce sleep. Lavender sachets, linens and room sprays may be helpful. Make sure this is not a trigger for your headaches.

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