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Go To Health! (Because Life's Too Short. . .)

the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara is the Featured Author for October 1997
at Authorlink!

Practical Ways to Overcome Sleep Disorders - Part 4

We all hate keeping logs. When a biofeedback expert suggested (no, demanded) that I use a log to get a handle on my sleep patterns, I fought it kicking and screaming. Who has time or patience for logs?

I definitely found it frustrating to record nightly details that underscored my failure to sleep. Yet I did discover things I never realized about my existing nonsleep pattern. I was able to focus on ways change it.

Little by little, I changed the routine so I got more sleep. In the end, I saw significant improvement.

I used the sleep log in the book, No More Sleepless Nights, by Dr. Peter Hauri of the Mayo Clinic. This excellent book teaches readers to become their own sleep therapists.

The Sleep Log

Here's the version developed by Dr. Peter Hauri. Dr. Hauri recommends answering these questions daily, about 30 minutes after waking. Just estimate the times. The object is to realize how you felt about your sleep.

Click here for the form (it's a printable version!)

Two weeks after completing this form, I realized I was all over the place: I had no routine to teach myself to relax and get sleepy! I waited until I dropped, went to bed, got a second wind, got up and worked or read, tried again.

From my time using biofeedback, I learned to breathe slowly and deeply. This sleep log revealed that I needed to try a routine. I hadn’t even realized the importance of this. By combining the breathing and developing a routine, I have come a long way in my long-term sleep difficulties.

I started by improving my bedroom: new, firm mattress; put the recliner in the BR; room-darkening blinds; white noise machine. I adjusted the temperature ever so slightly at night. Sometimes while I read in my recliner I enjoy fragrant candles.

Combined with these environmental aspects, I molded myself to a stable, but not rigid, routine: Now I try to wind down at roughly the same time each night. This is the single most helpful routine I learned. I trained myself to turn off the work mode!

I rarely drink caffeine past 2:00 p.m. (yeah, that’s an obvious one), I no longer drive myself nuts worrying (extremely counterproductive) about the time it takes me to fall asleep, and I try to rise at about the same time each morning.

Following this fairly simple routine, I achieve refreshing sleep much of the time. Instead of getting four to six hours of sleep nightly, I usually manage seven to eight.

After those first few weeks, I haven’t kept a sleep log. That’s wonderful, but I think it may be time to record one week as a checkup.

To try to help as many people as quickly as possible, I’ve covered fundamental ways to improve sleep. If you're interested in learning more about Sleep Disorders (or having me do future articles on it), let me know.

Next Week:

Starting a new series of columns about humour and Health. If you can’t wait for some laughs, go to the joke contest page at my web site:

What do you use to get to sleep? Got any hints or strategies to share? Or jokes for next week? If so, e-mail me at

Back to the top / The New Sideroad/ Go to the latest column

Issue # 8
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1997


Overcoming Sleep Disorders

Part 1 - how your mattress can make all the difference.

Part 2 - strategies to help you sleep.

Part 3 - more strategies to help you sleep.


Stats indicate that for those over the age of 50, one of every two women and one in eight men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Our sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for this disease. Yet osteoporosis is not inevitable. Here's some information on this disease and how we can prevent it.

Part 1 of 4 - - details the likelihood of developing this disease, and its dangers and consequences.

Part 2 of 4 - - presents the risk factors of osteoporosis and some of our misconceptions about the disease.

Part 3 of 4 - - insights into diagnosis, and basic management techniques.

Part 4 of 4 - - new medical treatments to stop osteoporosis, and safety in the home of osteoporosis sufferers.

Next Week:

Humour and Health

Part of the original Sideroad. Text 1997, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted Dec. 23, 1997. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at