A Good Night’s Sleep Can Be a Challenge Without Adding An Illness

Sleep Can Be A Challenge—-

Insomnia — the lack of adequate sleep, with the challenges in altered health can leave one feeling tired all the time. There are many things you can do to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Here are a few ideas to gain the sleep you need:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Try to avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening, as it may keep you awake at night.  Also use the restroom before turning in to avoid those middle of the night visits  to the bathroom.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Take time to relax before bedtime each night. Some people watch television, read a book, listen to soothing music.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
  • Have a comfortable mattress, a pillow you like, and enough blankets for the season.
  • Exercise at regular times each day but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.
  • Make an effort to get outside in the sunlight each day – even if it means standing out the front door or on the balcony for at least fifteen minutes a day. Natural Vitamin D is beneficial.
  • Be careful about when and how much you eat later in the day. Large meals close to bedtime may keep you awake, but a light snack in the evening can help you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine – not only does it promote a fluid shift and can cause bowel elimination,  Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, soda, and hot chocolate) can also keep you awake.
  • Drink fewer beverages in the evening. Waking up to go to the bathroom and turning on a bright light break up your sleep.
  • Remember that alcohol won’t help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.
  • After turning off the light, give yourself about 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you’re still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed and try to relax in another comfortable area. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed and try again.

Fighting a cold or Flu can also disrupt a good night’s sleep.  Try using extra pillows to elevate your head, keep the room a bit cooler, having a box of tissues near the bedside with a trash container near the bed will also help, and a glass or bottle of water near the bedside will also alleviate a visit to the kitchen for a drink when attempting to fall asleep.

Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. How much sleep is enough? Sleep needs vary from person to person and change as people age. (1)

Consider these sleep guidelines for different age groups.

How much sleep do you need?


  • 16-18 hours

Preschool-aged Children

  • 11-12 hours

School-aged Children

  • At least 10 hours


  • 9-10 hours

Adults (including older adults)

  • 7-8 hours

Sleep-related difficulties – typically called sleep disorders – affect many people. Major sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia – an inability to fall or stay asleep that can result in functional impairment throughout the day.
  • Narcolepsy – excessive daytime sleepiness combined with sudden muscle weakness; episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes called “sleep attacks” and may occur in unusual circumstances.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) – an unpleasant “creeping” sensation associated with aches and pains throughout the legs that can make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Sleep Apnea – interrupted sleep caused by periodic gasping or “snorting” noises or momentarily suspension of breathing.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a sleep disorder, it may be important to receive an evaluation by a healthcare provider.

We hope this information has been helpful in providing you with suggestions on how to combat sleepless nights and improve your health – even during an illness.

For more information visit the CDC’s website http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Sleep/


(1) http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Sleep/