JACKSONVILLE, FLa. – Researchers say 70 million people have sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea or narcolepsy and more than 100 million Americans just aren’t getting enough sleep.
Adults should get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Are you shaking your head asking, “When was the last time I got that much sleep?” You are not alone.
There are a lot of reasons why people are not sleeping but one thing that might help is knowing what you should and should not do when you can’t fall asleep.
How long do you toss and turn in bed?
There should be a time when you get up and try something new. Ascension St Vincent’s nurse practitioner Tiffany Florence said to give yourself 15 minutes to try and fall asleep and if you cannot, get out of bed and do something boring.
“If you’re sleeping and you happen to wake up or before you fall asleep and you can’t go to sleep we recommend that you get up after 15 minutes and do something boring. Go out of your room, don’t turn on the TV, of course, don’t turn on any screens because we don’t want that stimulation but recommendations are to do something like read a boring book or read the classifieds,” Florence said.
Florence said her office suggests reading the book No More Sleepless Nights by Peter Houri. She said it not only lots of information on ways to get a good night’s sleep, they’ve also found the book itself puts people to sleep.
“It teaches you different meditation techniques so you can learn to calm yourself decrease anxiety and fall back asleep. Hopefully, after you’ve done that and it’s been about 15 or 20 minutes, go back in the bedroom and try to fall asleep,” Florence said.
Florence said you should also make the bed for sleeping not for tossing and turning. Also, the one thing you don’t want to do is turn on the TV or start scrolling your phone.
“The white light is a stimulant so when your brain sees that it thinks that it’s time to get up so you want to try and decrease that,” she said.
Some other advice:
- Keep the bedroom cooler at night, around 70-73 degrees
- Develop a sleep routine in the evening that will settle you down
- Don’t exercise within two hours of trying to fall asleep
If you are still having sleep problems, you might want to talk with your doctor to see if a sleep study might help. Doctors can monitor you at a sleep lab or in some cases right at home with a sleep monitor.
Got sleep questions?
Sleep medicine Dr. Peter Nassar, of Baptist Health, and Tiffany Florence, family nurse practitioner with Ascension St Vincent’s Southside were on The Morning Show Tuesday answering viewers’ questions for adults. The following hour, Dr. Adam Rappoport, of Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, addressed questions about sleep issues of children. Watch the questions and responses below.