Sleep

One in five Americans sleeps less than six hours a night—a trend that can have serious personal health consequences. Sleep deprivation increases the risk for a number of chronic health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If you have trouble sleeping, the following strategies can help you get more sleep.

Check for underlying causes. Some conditions or medications may be interfering with your sleep patterns. Treating a condition or adjusting a medication may be all it takes to restore better sleep.

Practice good sleep hygiene. Use your bed for sleep and sex only, block as much noise and light as possible, go to bed and wake at the same times each day, and get out of bed if you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes.

Nap if needed. If you like to nap, get your daytime shut-eye in midday. Naps late in the day can interfere with sleep later. If your problem is difficulty getting to sleep at night, then not napping can make you sleepier at bedtime and more likely to stay asleep.

Exercise earlier, not later. Exercise stimulates the body and brain, so make sure you finish exercising at least three hours before turning in.

Watch your diet. stay away from foods that cause heartburn. Ban caffeine-rich food and drinks (chocolate, tea, coffee, soda) at least six hours before bedtime. Don't drink alcohol for at least two hours before bed.

See a sleep specialist. If your own efforts aren't working, you'll want the help of a sleep professional to both diagnose your problem and propose behavioral and possibly drug treatments.

Sleep Articles

Is your CPAP machine making you sick?

Using a dirty continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system can lead to illness. Germs can grow in the mask or in the water reservoir in the CPAP pump. Cleaning the CPAP system regularly will help reduce illness risks. The CPAP mask, water chamber, and tubing should be washed with hot, soapy water every morning. The CPAP headgear and filter should be washed once a week. There are also two types of machines that automatically sanitize CPAP components at the touch of a button. (Locked) More »

Can I change my sleep-wake habits?

People whose sleep cycle is disrupted can reset it by following a simple strategy that includes going to bed at the same time, adjusting their meal times, and moving their exercise to the morning or early afternoon. (Locked) More »

CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?

Many products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now on the market. Some of these products may be a good option for certain health conditions, such as chronic pain or even anxiety and sleep disorders. But product regulation is not consistent, quality may vary, and in some instances products may contain too little CBD to be clinically effective. (Locked) More »

How much sleep do we really need?

Some people need less sleep while others need more, but in general trying to get the recommended amount (seven to nine hours a night for adults, seven to eight for seniors) is probably a prudent choice. (Locked) More »

Winning the weight battle after menopause

Changes in hormone levels just before and during menopause may cause women to gain weight and to store more weight around their middle, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes can help, but they may not always be enough to make a difference. Some women may need to seek out assistance from a weight-loss professional. (Locked) More »