In part two of a report on sleep habits, NY1's Jill Urban offers some additional tips on how we can all get a little more shut eye.
You lie there awake, tossing, turning and praying you can just get a little more sleep. In this 24/7 world, many people find it so hard to shut down.
"We are a very sleep deprived society," says Dr. Steven Feinsilver of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital. "I'm amazed at how little people some people tell me they sleep, and how people assume that sleeping five or six hours is OK. It's rarely OK."
Feinsilver says sleep issues often occur because our schedules and bad habits throw off our internal body clocks.
In our last report, he outlined what some of those bad habits are, but now, we've asked him to help set us straight, and to show us how to get our clocks back on track.
First, he says that if your sleep routine is in a state of unrest, you should start by setting a schedule.
"A consistent wake time is probably rule number one for sleep. Pick a time to wake up every day and stick to it," Feinsilver says. "For many people who try to wake up one time on Monday through Friday and sleep a lot later on weekends, it's like having jet lag on the weekends. It just doesn't work very well."
A few tools can also help reset our clock. First is light.
"Go outside or be exposed to light," he says. "What tells your brain that it's time to be awake is light. It could be artificial, but sunlight is even better."
Also, exercising in the morning and eating at normal times may also help re-train your body clock. If your schedule has you on off hours, remember that light exercise and food can wake you up, so avoid them if you need to sleep during the day.
Speaking of sleeping during the day, he says that napping can also help. He says that taking a short nap during the day is far less of a strain on our body clocks than sleeping late on a weekend. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are two big sleep killers.
If you find yourself dosing off during the day or find it hard to function, you could have a sleep disorder and should be seen by a doctor.
"The main symptom of a sleep disorder is always daytime sleepiness," Feinsilver says. "We usually assess by asking questions like, 'How likely is it that you could fall asleep doing various things?' If you're falling asleep driving or working, it's time to find out something about it."
If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder, speak to your doctor so you can get the help you need and finally end the nightmare of restless nights.