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6 Remedies for Sleep Problems—Do They Work?

By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D, M.P.H., R.D., March/April 2008

Can anything we eat or drink help? Here’s what the science says.


READER'S COMMENT:
"pls help me on this sleepless nites, i m 27 weeks pregnant. I do not sleep more than 5 hour full. My sleeping patern is broken into 3- 4 hours than i m awake "

6. Cut out all caffeine.

Caffeine affects everyone differently, so if you’re sensitive it might be worth trying to cut down—or limit caffeine to the morning only. This can mean more than just cutting out a cup of coffee. The major sources of caffeine in Americans’ diets are coffee (71 percent), soft drinks (16 percent) and teas (12 percent) but chocolate is also a source. “Our ability to excrete caffeine decreases with age,” says Spielman, so while you might have tolerated four cups of coffee a day when you were 20, you’ll probably need to cut down as you get older. Cut down on caffeine or limit it to the morning; if insomnia persists, consider going cold turkey.

I’m going to try all of the above advice in my quest for shuteye. I know enough about the placebo effect to be content with just believing it will work. As for my husband he’ll be content—no, grateful—if my nighttime shopping tapers off.

Rachel Johnson, EatingWell’s senior nutrition advisor, is dean of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.



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