You may have read or heard that adequate sleep is a pillar of good health, like exercise and a healthy diet. Sleep affects blood pressure and heart disease, metabolism and obesity, the immune system, cognitive function and mood. But if you can’t get enough sleep, that information is more frustrating than helpful. What is interfering with your sleep, and how can you find the best sleep solution?

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Babies sleep a lot, and sometimes the very elderly do, too. How do sleep needs differ at various ages? How can you tell if you are really getting enough?

Certain medications can make it difficult for people to fall asleep or stay asleep. Others may disrupt the normal stages of sleep. Which are the most common culprits, and what can be done about them?

Sleeping Pills:

People who frequently toss and turn at night may look to sleeping pills like eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien) as a sleep solution. What should you know about the benefits and risks of these medications? Other commonly used drugs such as trazodone and Seroquel have never even been approved for sleep problems. Over-the-counter sleep aids also have pros and cons. People who can’t turn off their thoughts might want to consider a device called a MUSE that can help practice meditation and quieting brain activity.

What Is Good Sleep Hygiene?

When experts recommend “good sleep hygiene,” what the heck do they mean? How much does it help to exercise early and take a hot bath an hour before bedtime? Find out about non-drug approaches to restless legs and other sleep problems.

This Week’s Guest:

Dr. Chris Winter is a board certified sleep medicine specialist and neurologist. He has worked with professional sports organizations including the Cleveland Indians, The New York Rangers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since 2008 Dr Winter has served as the Men’s Health magazine sleep advisor and he blogs for the Huffington Post. Dr. Winter owns Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine Clinic and CNSM consulting in Charlottesville VA.

Dr. Winter is the author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It
His website: http://www.cvilleneuroandsleep.com/

Photo credit – Jen Fariello Photography

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