WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - March 7-13 is National Sleep Awareness Week. Catching enough zzz's is something many people struggle with. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, but doctors have some suggestions to get the best rest.
Brian Frankel is one of hundreds of patients who come to Coastal Pulmonary Medicine in Wilmington searching for a way to get a full night's sleep.
"I'd doze off in airplanes, doze off in waiting areas at the airports," said Frankel. "I was just always tired."
Frankel's sleep troubles began ten years ago.
"At that point in my life I was about 40 years old, and I was in serious trouble."
Now he is tired of being tired. Frankel went in for testing, and doctors found he had a very common sleep disorder.
"They found I was actively experiencing sleep apnea."
Most patients Dr. Thaddeus Dunn sees suffer from sleep apnea, but he also works with people who just can't get quality sleep.
"A quality night's sleep means you fall asleep within an acceptable period of time, 15 to 30 minutes," said Dr. Dunn. "But you sleep soundly through the night and you wake up refreshed in the morning."
Dr. Dunn has simple advice when looking for ways to help you sleep:
- avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine
- exercise regularly
- have a relaxing bedtime ritual
- no TVs in the bedroom
- wake up at the same time every day
"The most important hour is the hour you wake up," said Dr. Dunn. "You should have a consistent waking time."
Dr. Dunn recommends avoiding naps as well. He says when you nap during the day, you take away the desire to sleep at night, and you increase the risk of having fragmented, restless sleep when you do fall asleep.