By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals
Does this scenario sound familiar? It's two o'clock in the morning and you're tossing and turning in bed, wondering when…if ever...you're going to get to sleep. To make matters worse, this is the third night this week you've had this problem and the lack of sleep is beginning to take its toll.
Trouble sleeping is a growing problem in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that school-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep daily, teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9 hours, and adults need 7-9 hours. If you're not getting this much sleep, take heart. There are some simple things you can try to get your zzzz's back on track.
Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as "sleep hygiene"—that can help improve your sleep. These include:
It's important to note that problems with sleeping could signify the presence of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. If your sleep difficulties don't improve through good sleep hygiene, you may want to consult your doctor or a sleep specialist.
Be sure to watch the "Ask the Doc" video to learn more!