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Sweeter Dreams Without Sleeping Pills

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Madonna admits: “I’m a workaholic. I have insomnia.” Seems the lady who crooned “Bedtime Story” (“Let’s get unconscious, honey”) hasn’t discovered how to get 40 winks. And then there’s 21-year-old golfer Jordan Spieth, who rented two houses in Augusta, Georgia, last spring – one was just for sleeping – but still had a restless night before the final round of the Masters.cantsleep

We bet they and the 72 million other adults in North America who’ve battled insomnia wish they could find a safe, effective way to fall and/or stay asleep. Well, the good news is that you don’t need sleeping pills (every user experiences some negative side effect). Researchers at Australia’s Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center found that four to six once-a-week training sessions using cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is safer than medications and gets better results. Seems the therapy’s sleep-enhancing practices let you fall asleep 20 minutes sooner, on average, and sleep 30 minutes more each night. That’ll avoid the insomnia hangover that can leave people feeling grumpy and fuzzy-brained.

It works by reducing anxiety and negative thoughts about sleeplessness; improving your relationship with your bedroom; and restricting how much time you spend in bed (no lying there staring at the ceiling!). It also teaches you mind-body relaxation techniques. To find a cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner, go to www.sleepfoundation.org; search for “Choosing a CBT for Insomnia Specialist.” And for best results, make a point to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, to eat healthfully and keep digital distractions OUT of the bedroom.

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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