How much sleep do I need?
|TAMAR MARCOTTE, DO FAMILY MEDICINE,
EDWARD MEDICAL GROUP
Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and children need more. However, most adults report that they often don’t even come close, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.
Sleeping pills are not always the best solution. It can be difficult to assess a sleeping disorder when too many sleeping pills have been taken and their use doesn’t address the underlying cause of insufficient sleep.
“If you’re having problems sleeping, first consult with your primary care physician,” says Tamar Marcotte, DO, a family medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. “Your doctor can help determine if you should see a sleep physician. If so, that usually involves an overnight stay at a sleep center where an assessment is done to pinpoint the cause of a sleep disorder.”
In the meantime, Dr. Marcotte offers these tips for getting a better night of sleep:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
- Allow for at least seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
- Avoid caffeine for four hours and big meals and alcohol for two hours before lights out.
- Don't exercise strenuously within 90 minutes of bedtime.
- Keep TV, computers and other distractions out of the bedroom.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom around 72 degrees.
- If you're sensitive to light, consider using black-out shades on your windows, and if noise disturbs you, try ear plugs.
Talk with your doctor if you experience at least a month of sleep problems, such as snoring, daytime sleepiness, or insomnia – especially if you are obese or have cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Dr. Marcotte is a board certified family medicine physician who provides primary care services for infants through seniors in Edward Medical Group’s Family Practice office at 1222 N. Eola Rd. in Aurora. To schedule an appointment, call (630) 646-6250. For more information, visit www.edwardmedicalgroup.org.