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OP Kapoor

Ex. Hon. Physician, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Ex. Hon. Prof. of Medicine, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai 400 008.

As I have written in the past, I find it impossible to please all my patients who complain of insomnia. Sleeping pills can be prescribed by any practitioner. I stress on a brisk, tiring, sweating evening walk for one hour followed by hot water bath before dinner and a glass of hot milk at bedtime.

There is one more important point which I have picked up in Indian patients. Most of the Indian patients like to have a heavy lunch and not heavy dinner. Post prandial drowsiness is a normal reflex with the result that these patients have long afternoon nap of 11/2 - 2 hours. Often, they are housewives who do not indulge in any outdoor activities and drink a lot of tea during the whole day. Thus they do not get enough sleep at night and bother their doctors about the symptom of insomnia.

Therefore, next time you encounter a patient of insomnia, do not forget to ask the question - "Do you have an afternoon nap?" If so, they should be advised not to sleep in the afternoon.

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