Dr. Kadile, I am having trouble going to sleep. My friend tells me to just have a few beers before bedtime. What is the best type of alcohol for sleep? – Tony, DHS
Tony, no alcohol is good for sleep. While alcohol can cause drowsiness and sleepiness, it actually disrupts quality sleep by interfering with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM sleep is when we dream and is the restorative part of sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed, is not good.
Dr. Kadile, how much sleep do I actually need? – Bruce, Rancho Mirage
Bruce, adequate amount of sleep is extremely important for a person’s overall well- being. Poor sleep or not enough sleep adversely affects a person’s health, physically and mentally. The necessary amount of sleep needed varies from individual to individual, but studies have generally agreed that the average amount of time for quality sleep for an adult is seven to eight hours a night. Again, this can vary depending on age, gender and race. For example, my wife needs at least eight hours of sleep a night in order to function, while I can do well on six hours.
Whenever patients see me complaining about difficulty sleeping, I will start off by educating them about proper “sleep hygiene”. Lifestyle modifications are very important when treating insomnia.
- Establish consistent times when to go to bed and get up, maintain the schedule even on weekends
- Try and maintain a nightly, relaxing routine before going to bed
- Create a dark, quiet and cool environment that is conducive for sleep; comfortable mattress, pillow, sheets.
- Avoid watching television, using a computer or reading in bed
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before going to bed
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine, high carbohydrate and alcohol products close to bedtime.
Dear Dr. Kadile, my husband snores and will sometimes awaken at night. Is it possible that he snores so loud that the noise would wake him up? – Julia, DHS
Julia it is possible that loud snoring may awaken the person doing the snoring, but your husband may also be experiencing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a serious condition that occurs when the throat tissues become blocked preventing adequate breathing. When the breathing gets interrupted, the body will signal you to wake up to resume breathing. If you suspect your husband may have obstructive sleep apnea, he needs to see his doctor for further evaluation which may include a sleep study or seeing a sleep specialist.