Stress about illness affecting sleep?

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Question from Michelle: If it's hard to sleep because of anxiety due to the illness, would you recommend doing physical activity a few hours before going to bed? What can you do to take your mind off stressing about the illness while in bed trying to sleep?
Answers - Helena Schotland Exercise is great, if you make it earlier in the day. The sleep hygiene and cognitive-behavioral therapy can play a large role here. Sometimes, I even tell patients to set aside a worry time earlier in the evening, where they think about their illness, do their research. But when it's time to go to bed, I like them to go to bed with a blank slate in their head, and preferably substitute some pleasant imagery instead. Some people are anxious about what they have to do the next day, so I tell them during their worry time to make lists of what they need to do. Again, when you go to sleep you can think about (my favorite image) lying on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere, or whatever favorite image you want to think about.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. What's the latest you would schedule your worry time?
Helena Schotland I would say at least 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It must be important to have your place of worry far away from your bedroom?
Helena Schotland Exactly!

On Wednesday, January 17, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Sleep Well: Healthy Habits for Good Rest. Helena Schotland, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about ways to improve your sleep.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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