By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: Doctor Marion,

My mom is having trouble sleeping. She is addicted to the TV and is always talking on the phone. Can I gently give her some ideas about good sleeping patterns to help her sleep better? Verg in Nevada, 52

ANSWER: Dear Verg,

Sleep is a natural part of the rhythm of life. Start with a comfortable mattress and pillow. The habits we have before sleep are also important, such as not overeating or drinking too much. The mind needs to be at ease before sleep, so watching violent movies or having some other kind of stressful encounter needs to be avoided. Being on the phone or dealing with your emails just before bedtime can also disturb brain patterns. A warm glass of milk, a comfortable room temperature, and a quiet atmosphere are the best sleep enhancers. Discuss these tips with your mom. It's also a good idea to check with her primary doctor to make sure there aren't any medical condition that needs to be attended to that could be causing the problems.

©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.