HealthDoctor Karen

Are sleeping tablets a good idea for me?

Are sleeping tablets a good idea for me?

Dear Karen

I haven’t been sleeping over the last couple of nights and I’m wondering should I go to my GP for a couple of sleeping tablets? What do you think?

KAREN SAYS: It is very hard to manage on sleepless nights, it really wears you down and the nights can seem very long. A couple of quick questions:

- Are you napping during the day?

Are you drinking too much caffeine?

Is it possible that your mood might be low?

Are you drinking too much alcohol?

Are you stressed and is there simply too much on your mind?

Are you on medication that might be interfering with your sleep?

If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘yes’, then these issues need to be addressed.

If there is no clear reason for your sleeplessness and you need help for a couple of nights, it might be reasonable to ask your GP for a short script of night sedation. There are problems in taking night sedation regularly, such as dependence, tolerance etc. However, a short-term script if required should be fine. Good luck with that.



Dear Karen

My 13-year-old son was out running and twisted his ankle. It is sore to walk on now, a couple of days later.  Does he need to get an x-ray?

KAREN SAYS: How very unfortunate for him. Injured ankles can be very painful. You say in your letter that he twisted his ankle, but it is not clear whether he actually fell or not. In the absence of an actual fall it is quite unlikely that there is a fracture. It sounds like he has been weight-bearing and that would also suggest that he has not broken it.

On the other hand, I certainly don’t think that he is fit to be running. I would suggest that he rests his ankle, elevate it and wears a support bandage over the next couple of days.  If he is hobbling along and finding it difficult to walk he might need a crutch for a couple of days.

A final word, if he is having difficulty weight-bearing or if there is any point tenderness on the ankle, then go and get an x-ray for him. Otherwise, he may need some help from a physiotherapist.