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Treating Sleep Disorders

How much sleep do you need?

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"... Sufficient sleep is not a luxury-it is a necessity-and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health."

Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, Director, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

We all have heard that the way to get healthy is by diet and exercise, but did you know that there is now a third way? Sleep. That's correct; a healthy diet, regular exercise and good old fashioned sleep. We now know from studies that people who do not get enough good, sound sleep every night are at risk for a host of illnesses that include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression. Sleep is necessary for our brains to create memories, and help us learn. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, there are ways for you to get help and begin to feel better! So remember, the way to health is diet, exercise and sleep.

At some point most of us have had an occasional 'bad night' where we experienced problems getting to sleep.

Additional Resources:

  1. Getting Started: Sleep and Sleep Disorders
  2. Your Guide to Healthy Sleep
  3. Understanding Sleep
  4. Sleep and Sleep Disorders
  5. Test your Sleep IQ
  6. No Rest for the Weary

Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

The best way to get the right amount of sleep is to follow some simple guidelines every day. There are simple ways to help you get a good night's sleep while avoiding medications that have side effects. The following is advice on how to get started and maintain healthy sleep that is safe and beneficial to your health.

How much sleep is enough? Sleep needs vary from person to person and change as people age. Sufficient sleep is an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.


Sleep-related difficulties - typically called sleep disorders - affect many people. Major sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia - an inability to fall or stay asleep that can result in functional impairment throughout the day.
  • Narcolepsy - excessive daytime sleepiness combined with sudden muscle weakness; episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes called "sleep attacks" and may occur in unusual circumstances.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) - an unpleasant "creeping" sensation associated with aches and pains throughout the legs that can make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Sleep Apnea - interrupted sleep caused by periodic gasping or "snorting" noises or momentarily suspension of breathing.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a sleep disorder, it may be important to receive an evaluation by a healthcare provider.

Sleep Hygiene

The promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene. Here are some simple sleep hygiene tips:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning.
  • Sleep in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Make your bed comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music.
  • Remove all TVs, computers, and other "gadgets" from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.