DEAR HARRIETTE: I love to sleep. The feeling of comfort after a long day, in my bed, really helps ease my tension. Lately, I have been having difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep. I have tried many natural remedies to try to calm down, but none has worked. My sleep complications don’t happen frequently, but there are days when they do occur. I have been trying to find the root cause of my situation, and I am not sure if I should see a specialist or handle it on my own. Any ideas? -- Sleepless
DEAR SLEEPLESS: Review your daily activities over the next week. Write down what you do, what you eat and drink and how you spend your time. Notice which days you sleep better than others and what happened on those days and evenings. Do you see a pattern that might indicate if your thoughts, mood or actions affect your sleep? If you notice something, adjust that behavior and determine if you are able to change your sleeping through certain modifications.
Turning off the television well before you go to bed, avoiding caffeine and alcohol near bedtime and thinking positive thoughts all help with sound sleep.
If you are not able to identify ways to improve your sleep on your own, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Bring your analysis with you. This will help your doctor to determine what’s happening for you and how to address it.