Two of the more common sleep issues are insomnia and sleep apnea.
Insomnia includes problems falling asleep or staying asleep, early morning awakenings or poor quality sleep. Having occasional insomnia is normal, but insomnia may be abnormal if it occurs on a regular basis and makes it hard for you to function during the day. Sleep specialist Dr. Conrad Iber says doctors take insomnia seriously due to its significant impact on quality of life, higher risk of accidents, missed work, and increased risk or recurrence of depression or anxiety.
Sleep apnea is a disorder which can cause you to stop breathing briefly but repeatedly throughout the night. As a result, you wake up exhausted. Untreated sleep apnea can have serious health consequences. A sleep study in your home or in a sleep lab may help diagnose this potentially dangerous disorder. To help determine if you have sleep apnea, take our sleep apnea risk assessment.
Tips to help improve your sleep
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool. It should remind you of a cave.
- Don’t work, read or use a computer in the bedroom.
- Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed. This can include a warm bath or a few minutes reading.
- Don’t go to bed until you are sleepy.
- If you are not asleep after 20 minutes in bed, get up, leave the bedroom, and start a quiet activity somewhere else. Don’t fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed only when you are sleepy.
- Avoid taking naps. If you must nap, take only one nap of less than one hour. Never nap after 3 p.m.
- Maintain a regular schedule for meals, medications and other activities to keep your body clock running smoothly.
- Get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends and holidays.
- Don’t have caffeine after lunch.
- Don’t have beer, wine or other alcohol within six hours of bedtime.
- Don’t have a cigarette or other source of nicotine before bed.
- Don’t go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal near bedtime.
- Avoid strenuous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Avoid sleeping pills if possible, or use cautiously.
- Take time during the day to deal with the things that are worrying you. Talk with a family member or friends. Express your feelings by writing in a journal. If your worries persist, talk to a therapist.
Find out more about Fairview Sleep Centers
With six locations throughout the Twin Cities, we make it easy to see a sleep specialist. View locations and meet our providers at fairview.org/sleep, call 612-273-5000 for an appointment.