Sleep Problems, Age 12 and Older (cont.)
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Check Your Symptoms
How much sleep a person needs varies from person to person. The number of hours you sleep is not as important as how you feel when you wake up. If you do not feel refreshed, you probably need more sleep. Feeling tired during the daytime is another sign you are not getting enough sleep. The average total nightly sleep time is 7½ to 8 hours. Healthy adults can require anywhere from 4 to 10 hours of sleep. Many times, simple home treatment can help you get the sleep you need.
If your sleep problem does not require a visit to your doctor, establish a routine to promote good sleep habits:
When you can't get to sleep, try the following:
Avoid activities that might keep you from a good night's sleep:
Try a nonprescription medicine, such as Nytol, Sleep-Eze, or Sominex. Use nonprescription medicines wisely since they can cause daytime confusion, memory loss, and dizziness. Continued use of sleeping pills may actually increase your sleeplessness (rebound insomnia). If you take any prescription medicines, talk with your doctor before trying any nonprescription sleep medicines.
Melatonin is a popular herbal remedy for sleep problems. Experts disagree about its usefulness for sleep problems. Before using any treatment, it is important to consider the risks and benefits of the treatment. For more information, see the topic Melatonin.
If you have several nights of trouble sleeping, review all of your prescription and nonprescription medicines with your doctor or pharmacist to determine whether the medicines you take could be the cause of your sleep problem.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
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