Sleep (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Causes of Fatigue Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideSleep Disorders Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Sleeping Disorders

Sleep Disorders Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Sleeping Disorders

How are sleep problems treated?

The treatment of sleep disorders depends upon the exact disorder and the degree of severity of the symptoms. Both medical and non-medical approaches are generally used in the treatment of sleep disorders. In some cases, such as sleep apnea, surgical treatments may be considered. In some patients, more than one type of sleep disorder may be present, requiring a combination of treatment considerations.

Sleep hygiene

Non-medical treatment options are often referred to as sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the practice of behavioral habits that offer the maximum potential for restorative and sound sleep. Good sleep hygiene practices include:

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol use before bedtime. Some studies have shown that caffeine consumed early in the day can have an effect on the ability to fall asleep at night.
  • Have and adhere to a regular bedtime and waking schedule.
  • Maintain a comfortable sleep environment, including a comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid watching television or using electronics with backlit screens in bed and falling asleep with the TV on in the room.
  • Do not lie in bed awake, worrying about not sleeping (or anything else negative). This produces anxiety that can actually make the problem worse.
  • Get regular daily exercise (it is recommended that individuals avoid exercise two hours prior to bedtime).

Other therapies

Of course, many people with sleep disorders will require treatment beyond sleep hygiene measures. Behavioral therapies are successful for many people who suffer from insomnia. These therapies may consist of stimulus control measures, such as using the bed for sleeping and sex only and not for other activities such as reading or TV watching. Sleep restriction therapies are often used to help individuals avoid staying in bed too long and actually over-sleeping after a night of insomnia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/17/2016

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