Nearly one third of us are sleep deprived, which can have serious consequences on our health. Sleep medicine specialist Russell E. Ditzler, MD, with Palmetto Family Medicine and Lexington Sleep Solutions, shares natural ways to help improve your sleep.
Q. What are the risks of not getting enough sleep?
A. Adults need seven to nine hours of sound sleep each night and children need even more. Sleep deprivation is associated with greater risk for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Obesity/weight gain
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Mental health disorders and cognitive impairment
Q. What are some ways to help improve our sleep?
A. The most important thing is to create a routine to sleep, just as we do for our children. Here are some tips to help create a better sleep environment:
- Create a cool, dim environment in the home, even in the early evening.
- Avoid electronics like laptops, television and cell phones.
- Create a bedtime ritual like a warm bath or combing your hair or listening to music-- anything relaxing in a cool, dim environment.
- Keep your bedroom dark.
- Avoid having pets, small children or snoring bedmates in bed with you.
Q. What are your thoughts on melatonin as a sleep aid?
A. Melatonin is an aid we use a lot because it is a more natural product. You can increase your body's natural production of melatonin by drinking tart cherry juice, which I recommend for many of my patients.
But many people use too much melatonin, which can cause some sleepiness in the daytime.