Sleep is a basic human need, but many of us don’t get enough of it. Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested, but the average adult sleeps for less than 7 hours.
Some people don’t allow enough time for sleep, and some have difficulty sleeping. For the latter group, some complementary approaches may help, particularly relaxation techniques such as guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation. The dietary supplement melatonin may also help people with insomnia, but its effect is small.
If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your health care provider. Medicines that you take may interfere with sleep; your provider may be able to help you overcome this problem. Also, trouble sleeping sometimes indicates a health problem that needs treatment.
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