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SUNY Downstate Sleep Disorders Center

Good Sleep is Essential for Good Health

Good sleep affects both your physical and mental well-being, and also has an impact on your immune system. Sleep disorders are often associated with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, asthma, convulsions, memory problems, irritability, depression and impotence.

Snoring can be an indication of a life-threatening sleep disorder.

At the Sleep Disorders Center, we provide diagnosis and treatment for all types of sleep disorders. Symptoms include snoring, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, nightmares, teeth-grinding.

How much sleep is enough?

On the average:

  • Infants need 16 hours per 24-hour period
  • Teenagers need about 9 hours per 24-hour period
  • Adults need 7 to 8 hours per 24-hour period

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40% of adults get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on weekdays, and 71% get under eight hours of sleep.

If you frequently feel drowsy during the day, you probably haven't had enough sleep. You may have sleep deprivation or even a sleep disorder. (Take our Sleep Quiz.)

Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

  1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  2. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, quiet and comfortable.
  3. If noise is an issue, use "white noise" like a fan, or ear plugs.
  4. Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual, e.g., reading, stretching, listening to soft music.
  5. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day.
  6. Avoid eating at least 2 hours before bed, and don't eat spicy foods.
  7. Avoid drinking beverages before bedtime.
  8. Exercise regularly.
  9. If you don't fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, get up out of bed until you feel sleepy.
  10. Don't take naps during the day. If you're sleepy, get up and move: walk, do errands, stretch. The activity will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain and help you to be more alert.
  11. Talk to your doctor before taking sleep medications. All medications have side effects, and you might have other issues that could be exacerbated by medication.

It might help to:

  • Drink warm milk.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Turn your clock so you can't see the time.
  • Keep a pad and pencil by the bed to write down your thoughts when you have a lot on your mind.