Tips to beat insomnia - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tips to beat insomnia

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LONDON -

Sheila Fitzpatrick has struggled to a get good night's sleep for 15 years. She used to take over-the-counter sleeping pills every night, but found they made her anxious and her insomnia worse.

"I was in despair really, having taken pills and knowing I shouldn't be putting chemicals in my body," she said.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of England found that one-third of people in Britain are taking sleeping pills for more than a month without talking to their doctor.

"If it lasts for longer than a month, for the majority of those cases there's possibly an underlying medical condition," pharmacist Neil Patel said.

Depression, prescription medications and certain medical conditions can all affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Experts say sleeping aids can be safe for people with short-term insomnia from jet lag or overnight shifts.

Sleep expert Guy Meadows says it's not what you do that solves insomnia, but what you learn not to do.

At the sleep school in London, Meadows teaches insomniacs to let go of "props."

"So you think, I know, I will start using the TV to help me fall asleep or I will listen to the radio to fall asleep or I will start taking this medication, this sleeping pill to get me to sleep," said Guy Meadows, a sleep specialist.

Limiting caffeine and alcohol and relaxation techniques can also help.

Sheila Fitzpatrick no longer relies on pills. She says an online sleeping course has helped her switch off her mind and get a good night's rest.

Women and people over age 60 are more likely to struggle with insomnia.

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