MIAMI (CBS4) – If you’re always tired, sleepy and simply can’t seem to get enough rest, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, insufficient sleep is a growing public health epidemic which affects the nation’s work performance, productivity and health.
To get the shut eye your body needs, experts say you have to create good sleep hygiene.
“When I was sleeping it felt like I wasn’t resting throughout the night. I’d wake up. I’d feel drained the next day almost like I ran a marathon,” said Matthew Kuhs.
It’s estimated 70-million Americans have sleep or wakefulness disorder including Kuhs who’s doctor suggested he undergo a sleep study.
“They found I have a mild case of sleep apnea,” said Kuhs.
Shary Smith, 65, of Weston found out she too has sleep apnea after being treated for memory loss.
“My children told me I was repeating myself. I would have never gone to see a sleep apnea specialist had I not had the short term memory loss.”
“Sleep apnea is an intermittent blockage in the back of the throat at the base of the tongue which ruins sleep and makes it non refreshing,” explained Cleveland Clinic Weston sleep expert Dr. Laurence Smolley.
He said sleep apnea is one of the more common disorders.
Symptoms include snoring, waking up tired or with a headache.
Smith and Kuhs now use a CPAP machine to treat their apnea.
The mask helps to keep the airway in the back of the throat open.
Finding the correct treatment is critical because studies show people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and depression.
For a third of Americans who have the less severe sleep disorder insomnia, Dr. Smolley suggested adopting good sleep rituals like reading something that’s pleasant, meditating or praying.
“Any bright light should be eliminated in the hour or two before bedtime because bright lights are too stimulating,” added Smolley. That includes not using your phone and computer or watching television in bed.
“Watch TV in the family room or the living room then you become sleepy then you go in the bed,” Smolley remarked.
But the most important ritual of all, according to Smolley, is to wake up every morning at the same time even on the weekends.
“People tend to sleep too late or they stay in bed too late. The whole idea for health is to try to maintain a regular schedule.”
Experts say adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep, teenagers up to 9 and half hours, and children as much as 11 hours.
Other things that can interfere with falling asleep include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and large meals.