When my first child was a newborn, I couldn't wait for him to start sleeping through the night so I could too. I dreamed about a time when I would really sleep well. My kids aren't babies anymore-the youngest is a toddler-so that time should be now. But too often, I'm still tossing and turning at 2 a.m. and bleary-eyed the next day. My friends who are moms report similar experiences. It's a bit baffling: Sometimes our insomnia stems from a child's nightmare or illness, but just as often, there doesn't appear to be any cause at all. We all long for a good night's rest-so why aren't we getting it?
It turns out there are some surprising reasons why we're still awake-and most are easy to remedy. Here's how to have better nights and more energized days.
Everyone has bad nights; that's part of life, especially for parents of young children. But what if your sleep troubles won't go away? First, try keeping a sleep log, suggests Dr. Joyce Walsleben. Write down what's going on during the day and which nights are worse than others. If you can't fall asleep (or can't stay asleep) more than three nights each week, make an appointment with your doctor. She can prescribe a short-acting prescription sleep aid, if needed. But more important, she can help determine the cause of your insomnia-such as depression, sleep apnea, an overactive thyroid gland, or another condition. If she doesn't find a physical cause, she can refer you to a sleep specialist.
Copyright © 2005. Reprinted with permission from the August 2005 issue of Parents magazine.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.