Why am I awake? Did I drink too much caffeine? Eat too much sugar? Drink too much alcohol? Maybe there is too much light in the room or it’s too warm or too cold.

When I heard that Michael Jackson had trouble sleeping I felt bad for him. A good night’s sleep is so important. It’s no fun laying awake when everyone else in your household is sleeping. I envy the people who can fall asleep any where and any time.


Sleepover’s were never any fun for me at any age. Even though pajama parties weren’t really meant for sleeping, it seems like everyone fell asleep at some point while I was only pretending, longing for my own bed and my own space.


First nights at hotels aren’t always the best, usually the sheets are too rough and the pillows too fat. A lot of hotels have improved the quality of their sheets and it really helps when hotels go green and give you the option of not changing the sheets every day. Sometimes it helps to sleep on the sheets a day or two before they feel just right. If you’re having trouble sleeping maybe you should look at your routine.

According to Dr. Mary Susan Esther, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, to fall asleep fast, turn in and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends. She also recommends creating a bedroom that is a calm and peaceful place. Make sure the room is dark. For me I always buy room darkening blinds or curtains. Even the display from the DVD and alarm clock have kept me awake and there is something I hate about those sleep masks. I remember putting a towel over the digital display once because it was so bright.

Dr. Esther says watch out for the stimulants. Not only caffeine from coffee but there are so many soft drinks that contain caffeine and don’t forget about chocolate and alcohol. Your body can metabolize the alcohol and it can pop you awake in a few hours.

Maybe worry was keeping Michael Jackson awake. We now know he had a lot to worry about. That is the saddest part about his death. From the outside looking in we think the rich and famous have it all and it turns out they are paying a doctor $150,000 a month to put them asleep.

The good doctor Esther says if you can’t nod off in 15 minutes, get up and read a book or magazine and head back to bed when you feel sleepy. Supposedly this teaches your brain that the bed is a place to fall asleep.

Personally, I have found that getting exercise through the day, especially walking, can help you rest better. If your insomnia continues see your doctor and tell the doctor the truth, please don’t just ask for something to make you sleep. If you’re sleeping with someone who snores and that keeps you awake have a sit down and talk about it, maybe separate bedrooms would work so you can get some sleep. The snoring could be a result of sleep apnea.

Recharging your batteries (sleep) is so important. Sleep aids your immune system, and getting the right amount of sleep helps you to maintain that youthful look we love so much.

(E-mail the columnist at debbienorrell@aol.com.)

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