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Insomnia Be Gone: Sleeping Well Tips

For many women, it's tough to get a good night's sleep. Studies show that women may be 20 percent to 50 percent more likely to have insomnia than men.

One culprit behind women's sleep difficulties and insomnia can be fluctuating hormone levels. Hormone fluctuations that cause insomnia occur for many reasons, including monthly menstrual cycles, use of birth control pills, pregnancy, and perimenopause.

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, simple changes in your daily and nightly habits may result in better sleep and decreasing insomnia. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers these suggestions to eliminate or at least diminish insomnia:

1) Caffeine: Limit it if you suffer from insomnia. In addition to the usual sources - coffee, tea and soda -- be aware of caffeine in chocolate and in medications used to treat headaches, colds and sinus congestion.
2) Nicotine: Nicotine impairs the ability to fall asleep resulting in insomnia.
3) Alcohol: Even though drinking alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, as few as one or two drinks within two hours of bedtime tend to disrupt your sleep and lead to insomnia eventually.
4) Inactivity: Lack of physical activity during the day is associated with increased insomnia. But strenuous exercise too close to bedtime may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
5) Large meals: Eating too much close to bedtime may make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult.
6) Naps: Naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you can't get by without one, limit it to less than 30 minutes.

If self-treatment strategies don't help with your insomnia, ask your doctor for help. Sleep difficulties can be related to a number of medical conditions.