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Sleeping Problems/Insomnia

About the Illness

Most adults need between 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, although it is common for people to need less as they get older. Reduced sleep is not a problem unless you feel chronically tired as a result. If you are less sleepy at night or wake up early, but still feel rested and alert, there is little need to worry. Sleep problems are common amongst HIV+ people, probably because of stress and anxiety.
If you are HIV+, make sure you get enough rest to help your body stay as fit and healthy as possible.

Common Symptoms

Persistent trouble falling asleep (taking more than 45 minutes to fall asleep); frequent waking during the night accompanied by inability to fall back to sleep; waking earlier than usual in the morning.

Children’s Issues

If small children are not getting enough sleep, this can be serious.
If your child is experiencing problems sleeping, you should seek professional help.

Herbal Therapy

Try one of these remedies to help your body relax and unwind before you go to sleep:

Camomile Tea good for all

Cinnamon Tea good for all

Lemon Juice & Olive Oil Drink good for all

Take a whole lemon and 2 tbsp olive oil.
Blend together and drink before going to bed.

Ocimum gratissimum Leaves or Infusion good for all

Inhale the smell of the leaves; chew 1 leaf; or prepare an infusion from 3-5 leaves and drink before bedtime.

Honey good for all

Drink a spoonful of honey in a glass of water OR add a spoonful to any of the hot teas described above.

Food and Nutrition Advice

  • Try to avoid drinking alcohol. It does not help you get proper, restful sleep.
  • Try to avoid taking sleeping pills every night.
  • Avoid stimulants like tea, coffee, sugar and miraa.
  • Try to drink caffeine in moderation and do not drink it after mid-day.
  • Avoid drinking more than 1 glass of liquid before bedtime.

Body Work and General Advice

Things to do in the day:
Spend half an hour in the sun 2 or 3 days each week; keep yourself busy during the day; don’t take afternoon naps (naps are fine if you don’t have sleep problems); take regular exercise.
Things to do at night:
Sleep in a dark room; sleep on a comfortable bed/mattress; relax before bedtime with music or massage; do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime; do not eat heavy meals within 3 hours of bedtime; do not go to bed hungry (have a light snack if necessary).

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