Sleep issues

Alternative names
Insomnia concerns; Difficulty falling asleep


Although most causes of insomnia are harmless and can be addressed with a few simple changes, many medical conditions can also cause insomnia. Be sure to talk with your health care provider if you:

  • have difficulty falling asleep  
  • awaken several times throughout the night  
  • have early morning awakenings  
  • have marked difficulty getting out to bed in the mornings

See sleep disorders and insomnia.

Here are some simple tips to get a better night’s sleep:

  1. If possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  2. Avoid performing activities such as eating and working in your bed.
  3. Avoid strenuous activity two hours prior to going to bed.
  4. Avoid caffeinated beverages in the evening. Some people may have the same reaction with drinks with concentrated sweets, or alcohol.
  5. Avoid eating heavy meals at least two hours prior to going to sleep.

Do something relaxing just before bedtime (reading or television) so that you don’t dwell on worrisome issues. If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and move to another room and engage in a quiet activity until you feel sleepy.

One method of preventing worries from keeping you awake is to keep a journal before going to bed. List all issues that worry you. By this method you transfer your worries from your thoughts to paper, leaving your mind quieter and more ready to fall asleep. See sleep disorders.

Caffeinated beverages consumed anytime after 3 p.m. can affect some people’s ability to fall asleep. In addition, drinking alcoholic beverages before bedtime can hurt the quality of your sleep.


While 8 hours a night is recommended for most people, children need more and older people do fine with less. The quality of sleep is as important as the quantity of sleep in determining how well-rested you will feel the next day. See sleep disorders and sleep disorders in the elderly.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.