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Managing Insomnia

Trouble sleeping – either falling asleep or staying asleep – is a common problem that affects everyone at some time. There is no “normal” amount of sleep. Some people need ten hours a night, while others do well on as little as four hours of sleep.

Symptoms: Lack of sleep creates daytime fatigue, irritability, and difficulty coping. It is one of the major causes of auto accidents.

Causes: Insomnia is a symptom with many different causes

 Common causes are

What to do


Increase calcium– and magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, salmon, soy products, raw seeds and nuts. Eat tryptophan at dinner or bedtime: bananas, figs, dates, yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, peanuts, and turkey. Sometimes 1 tsp. honey in a warm glass of milk before bed helps.


The major culprits – coffee, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol. Sometimes fruits and starchy foods consumed after midafternoon may be troublesome. Strong spices and MSG (monosodium glutamate) may affect sleep. Avoid taking too many of your regular supplements before bed, including vitamin C.


To summarize, sleep problems and sleep deprivation are very common and can have serious consequences. Good sleep hygiene and behavioral treatments can often significantly improve the quality of sleep.

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