"We have very effective treatments that are available for most people, "says Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler of the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. "It's gratifying to me as a physician when I can easily dianose a patient's problem and know what to do about it."
The problem then isn't really how to treat sleep disorders, it's how to get individuals to pay attention. "The cause of sleepiness is sleep deprivation. What's the treatment for that? Sleep! It's beautifully simple, "says Dr. Nate Watson, co -director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center that's located at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, a level 1 adult and pediatric trauma and burn center that serves four states. "I spend a lot of time counseling people on behavioral choices. We live in a toxic environment for sleep. We are surrounded by devices and are drawn to activities that demand our time, day or night, and people seem willing to compromise their sleep for these activities.
Most adults need at least seven to eight hours a night and children need nine or more. While treatments for the most common sleep problems are well established, not very complex and generally quite effective, that does not mean they are welcomed or, in some cases well tolerated. Chronic insomnia, for example, is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, which basically entails changing one's lifestyle and psychological framework regarding sleep. Tactics might include removing all electronic devices from the bedroom and avoiding alcohol or cafeine.
"Restrict caffeine intake to as close to none as possible," advised Michael T. Murray, a prominent Arizona naturopath and longtime former faculty member at Bastyr University in Seattle, a leading natural health education institution. No chocolate? Tea? Coffee?
If you are experiencing sleep problems, try avoiding all these for seven to ten days and see what happens.