Sleepless Nights? Why and What To Do?

August 1, 2006

3046855028.jpg One thing for sure after I arrive Chicago is jet lag… I will be sleepy mid afternoon but will be wide awake around 2 AM! This is the only occasion I usually take a sleeping pill to give me a good night rest and be able to participate in our next morning sessions.  But taking the pill is only for 1 night…just to break the cycle.

Other common causes of sleepless nights include stress, anxiety, medications like decongestants, and medical conditions like pain due to arthritis and heartburn.

One very important cause of perpetuationg this cycle of sleepless nights is the so called Behavioral Insomnia.  This is a condition that makes you so conscious of the fact that you can’t sleep.  The more worried you are about your inability to sleep, the more the cycle of insomnia perpetuates.  Patients associate the bed with sleepless nights rather than rest!  They sleep better when they’re away from their usual environment like watching TV or listening to lectures in a conference…that’s where you see these patients sound asleep! 

As for sleeping pills- occasional use is okay.  Frequent use can be habit forming and can also lead to sleepless nights especially they become less effective overtime.

Here are some Practical Tips to Help you Sleep:

1. Avoid and Limit Caffeine due to its stimulant effect;

2. Limit your water intake prior to bedtime to decrease frequent sleep interruption due to urination

3. Limit your Naps to at most 30 minutes if you cant do without it.

4. Take a little snacks or a relaxing warm bath prior to bedtime and try to avoid taking spicy foods or fatty foods for dinner especially if you have heartburn .

4. Avoid “Trying to Sleep”– the more you try, the more frustrating it can be. Read a book on a warm light and go to bed only when you feel you’re drowsy.  Associate your bed with a good night sleep.

5. Stick to a schedule of sleeping and waking up.

So the next time you go to bed… make sure that the room is comfortable, dark and cozy…enough for the bedroom to be conducive to sleeping.  Sleep is not only as important as your Daily Waking Activities…it’s how you plan the night time activity.

Remember… Sleep is the only time your body can  Rejuvenate and Heal!

So Try My Tips ….

Enjoy Your Sleep and



41 Responses to “Sleepless Nights? Why and What To Do?”

  1. Carmela Says:

    hi doc gerry, below is a link to a site where they have a “sleeptest”. Some of those reading your blog about behavioral insomnia might find it interesting too —

  2. dave Says:

    Nice blog… please check my website on liver disease which you may find useful.

  3. Siza Says:

    Hello doctor my problem is i was going tru a very stress full time from January 2008 not having a job then i could not sleep at all for a month then i went to see a doctor but still i was having the same problem but that time i understand i was too stressed then April 2008 i got the job things started to work out and im not stressed now but the problemis since i was not sleeping then now i can only sleep for 2 hours then im up the whole night i went to doctors now several time they gave me pills that they say they are too strong and still i will sleep the two hour and now im startignto have head ache i think because im not sleeping enough i my body not is tied it does not adjust in sleeping normal hours i dont know what to do inow cause even the strongest pill i still sleep 2 hours can you please tell me what to do.

  4. Doc Gerry Says:

    Siza… we may have to check you physically and talk to you personally. You may need a sleep lab workup. Dont be dependent on pills…I strongly dont recommend that route.

  5. JOSEPH Says:


  6. Doc Gerry Says:

    Mrs Magrate…please seek from from a sleep specialist and you may have to stay overnight in a sleep lab to really determine the nature and cause of your sleep problem. If my tips above in my post hasnt helped…then please seek a sleep specialist in your area.

  7. Celsey Says:

    My name is celsey and i’m in high school.. i’ve been trying my best to go to sleep but I just can’t. I close my eyes then I fall asleep for about an hour or 2 and I wake up but can’t go to sleep. I get up every day at 7 a.m. and my teachers wonder why I fall asleep in their classes. They ask me am I getting enough sleep at night but I tell them no. I used to sleep well but now I can’t. What should I do?

    • Doc Gerry Says:

      Hi Celsy… I think you need to see us for a checkup and to see why you have problems with sleeping. Maybe you are thinking about something everytime you go to sleep. Remember to rest your mind when you sleep BUT if you have things in you rmind that are bothering you, these thoughts will make you wide awake. But as doctors we need to make sure nothing medical is responsible for your problem.

  8. ben Says:

    hey my names ben
    i sleep ok but in the middle of the night i will wake up suddenly sometimes this happens once a night sometime 4-6 times a night i have been taking a bottle of juice to bed with me and when i wake up take a swig of that and im back out like a light i dont want to be dependent on a bottle of juice is there can u please help me

    • Doc Gerry Says:

      Ben… this is plain and simple habit! I had the same problem before while in the US.. i need to eat ice cream before going to bed otherwise I will suddenly wake up at 2 AM and look for it. This habit had to stop becuase it was not a healthy habit and I was successful in doing so. There is no problem with you… it just became a habit that if you dont drink juice you wont get back to sleep. Dont think too much or anything when you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night because if your mind is active, then most likely you wont fall asleep again. Am not sure Ben if my advise will help…but keep us posted. Drink milk instead..its healthier.

  9. dixon Says:

    for about a week i have to take medinece to get to bed if i dont i wont get to sleep or sleep for only two hours but during the day i fall asleep with easy help because i dont want to relay on that medinece to fall asleep very night

  10. I use to browse with my computer for about 8 months without good sleep night and right now, I’m pretty confused and i don’t know if it is as the result of the sleepless night that is causing me to feel abnormal in my whole body, in the sense that whenever i walk on the street it seems like my brain and soul are not working or functioning together but meanwhile. i still go for my delay work but it disturbs me a lot so what do you advise me to do. So i need your advise and help urgently. Thanks.

    My E-mail address is :

  11. Idowu Says:

    Hi, I use to drink alcohol and smoke very well for a very longtime now(20yrs) on a regular basis. During these yrs the alcohol and smoking became my sleeping drug. Now I have stopped drink and smoking so I can’t sleep , have used sleeping pills it works but want to stop pills what should i do.

  12. Sanjana Says:

    Dear sir
    Im sanjana an engineering student i feel sleepy when i go to bed i wont sleep as soon i go it will take about half an hour sometimes soon i will wake up in midnight and sit after few minutes i will sleep and in the classroom i will feel sleepy . Sir can you suggest what to do sir

  13. abel Says:

    i dont sleep at night well

  14. vivian Says:

    i have a problem of sleeping in the night for over onr year,pls help me

  15. Daniel Says:

    No stress & no problems falling asleep. But I do wake up after EVERY REM phase which means I am waking up every 90 minutes all night long. Anything I can do to STAY asleep??

  16. mrs A. Christiana Says:

    For the past four years i have been having sleepless night and there is no treatment i have not taken. Pleas Doc. Help me

  17. jj Says:

    I tend to wake up between midnight and 3 or 4 am each morning and takes me awhile to get back to sleep…my work mornings begin at 4:45…could this be an early sign of menopause?

  18. jj Says:

    I tend to wake up each morning between midnight and 4 am, usually 2-3 times each night, could this be an early sign of menopause?

  19. HAPPIE Says:

    Cant sleep for the whole night. tried to read a book and to close my eyes all was in vain.

  20. Evelyn Sylvia Says:

    I normally have a sleepless night everytime please advice me on what to do.

    • Doc Gerry Says:

      Hi Evelyn… when you go to sleep…nothing should be in your mind…it should be empty of all the stress you had during the day…associate the bed with good night sleep.

  21. Very useful tips and i like most of the points you mentioned…Thanks anyway…

  22. Mehta ratnakar Bharati Says:

    from last one week i am not able to sleep properly.
    even though i go to bed at 1 am i am not able to sleep alhough i lie down in the dark room. i even tried to read books to sleep but that didn’t helped. in last i one week i have hardly slept for 4-5hrs. please help.

  23. ursula Says:

    from 2009 I have had a serious problem sleeping at night. This all started when I went on a fishing trip and had a bad experience around 2am . My body totally shut down where I could not feel my body from my shoulders down to my toes. I was told by the doctor that due to not enough water intake I dehaydrated. That just cause a najor stress regarding my sleeping at night. I try to go to bed at 10pm and trust me I will be very tired but the miniute I lay my head on the pillow its like my head starts to turn inside. Its the most uncomfortable time as I will toss and turn chnage my pillows around and find nothing will happen. At times is as if am loosing my mind. I am taking amitriptyline but at times still stay wide away. This is begining to take out alot in me my body gets very tired. I try not to take a tablet at night but rest assure no sleep for me at all. it is so frastrating I really need to sort this issue out in order to get a better nights sleep

  24. Roz Says:

    ive had his problem foravery longtime and i have a bad habit of worrying about things beyond my control, my question is alot of times im not worried yet i still go through alot of sleepless nights and im curious of why? ive been depending on over the counter tylenol pm for a very long time that helps but i want to break away from that. HELP ME PLEASE. sincerely, Roz

  25. Esther Says:

    Help me, l cant sleep

  26. TNM Says:

    Ive been having trouble sleeping for almost years and I have started taking sleep aid to help with this issue..I found myself becoming depended on them so I pulled myself away..I started sleeping on my on then I started keeping my God son on a regular basis and when he is not with me I find myself not sleeping due to worrying about him and other issue that I also think about..

  27. Hiram Keup Says:

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  31. Hyacinth Mattsey Says:

    Sleeping problems in the elderly are more than likely to manifest in a particular pattern, depending on the health of the person, and the prescription drugs they may be taking for their health problems.The quality of their sleep may change considerably, either because of less demands on their energy as a result of retirement, or through illness..

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  33. Agatha Adeniran Says:

    Thks so muh for ur advise.does tipe are good, think l will try them2sleep.l want2knw maybe someone wit diabetes also find it difficult2sleep at night&wat can d person do.thks

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  35. my mother have sleepless nights from nearly 2 years and she has never consulted a doctor .she is a maid at a house ,she works all day, is always carefree have no tension ,is always tired still she can not sleep at nights.she sometimes have nap for 1 to 2 only.she take medication for anything like she don”t have heart burns ,blood preassure,or any other things,piease suggest something.

  36. Kadijatu Bangura Says:

    Thank you so much, I really appreciate youranswer❤❤❤❤

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