March 1, 2021
Getting a good night’s rest is important for our physical and mental strength. One of the best ways to ensure you’re refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead is by implementing good sleep hygiene. This includes going to bed with dimmed lights, avoiding the use of electronics close to bedtime and having a fixed sleep schedule. It is also important to prioritize sleep on busy and stressful work/school days.
There are also things you can do during the day to help improve sleep. Avoiding daytime naps and excessive caffeine intake late in the day, increasing daytime physical activity and quitting smoking have been shown to help patients sleep better during the night. You can also ask your pharmacist if you are taking any medications that can worsen insomnia, such as bupropion, decongestants, fluoxetine, steroids and stimulants.
If the lifestyle changes noted above do not help in improving sleep, then I recommend a natural supplement known as melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by our brains to help regulate our circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and help with sleep. Your melatonin levels naturally increase as the sun sets and decrease in the morning due to light exposure. However, not all patients react to medicines and supplements in the same way. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if melatonin is right for you considering your comorbidities and concurrent medications.
If sleep problems persist, there are many prescription medications your primary care physician can prescribe. As pharmacists, we are here to help and educate patients on the pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic measures that can be taken to improve your overall well-being!
The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent that of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation. The content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat any health condition and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health professional.