The Doctor Is In: How to get better sleep

Content is sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System 

Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D.
Chair, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital
Senior Staff Physician, Henry Ford Health System Division of Sleep Medicine

March is National Sleep Awareness Month and there are many things that can impact your quality of sleep or, in some cases, lack of it.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults report that they typically get less than the recommended amount of sleep.  Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and more.

Here to help you achieve more restful sleep is Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk, sleep medicine specialist and Ear, Nose and Throat doctor at Henry Ford Health System.

Top 5 mistakes people make that affect their sleep
1. Irregular sleep schedule
2. Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep routinely
3. Leaving the TV on
4. Eating and drinking before sleep
5. Deciding what time to go to bed

How does your phone affect your sleep?
+ Beeping and buzzing can interrupt your sleep, causing you to go from a deep sleep into a lighter sleep. This can affect how restful your sleep is, as you may not be spending the time you should be in each stage of sleep.
+ Phones can cause you to do mental math, meaning you are doing higher level thinking.
+ If you glance at your phone and start to process the information you are taking in, you are increasing brain activity, and thus more likely to keep yourself awake. This can throw off your body's natural circadian rhythm.

Supplements to help you sleep - melatonin, CBD, etc. - do they work?

When it comes to supplements, no one thing works for everyone.  Melatonin - This is a substance the body creates naturally to help us sleep. The body produces it at dusk to make us feel tired. If someone does use a melatonin supplement, it should be used when the body is naturally producing its own melatonin. This means taking a melatonin supplement midday to help you fall asleep for a nap may not work, given your body is not producing its own melatonin at that time.

Cannabidiol, or CBD - These supplements do have the potential to help some people relax and fall asleep. CBD may decrease anxiety and pain, which can both interfere with restful sleep.

What can you do right now to improve your sleep?

Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone
+ Your bedroom should be associated with sleep.
+ Removing your TV and making it a place where you don't use your phone may help you achieve more restful sleep.

Look at sleep as a reward
If you begin to perceive sleep as a reward, you may find that you prioritize it more than you used to.

Practice good sleep hygiene, or sleep habits:
+ You should aim to go to bed at a consistent time each night
+ Make sure your room is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature.
+ Avoid large meals, alcohol or caffeine before bed