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Topic Overview

    Sleep is important for your physical and emotional health. Sleep can help you stay healthy by keeping your immune system strong. Getting enough sleep can help your mood and make you feel less stressed.

    But we all have trouble sleeping sometimes. This can be for many reasons. You may have trouble sleeping because of depression, insomnia, or fatigue. If you feel anxious or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may also have trouble falling or staying asleep.

    Recommended Related to Sleep Disorders

    Can't Sleep? When to Get Out of Bed

    You wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.   Whether you drank one cup of coffee too many earlier, or you've got a lot on your mind, it's time to decide whether to get up or stay in bed. Getting out of bed makes sense at some point. Tossing and turning endlessly isn't going to help. If you do get up, though, you're not giving up for the night. You still need rest. So your goal should be to get back to sleep as soon as possible. Some activities help with that. Others put...

    Read the Can't Sleep? When to Get Out of Bed article > >

    Whatever the cause, there are things you can do.

    Your sleeping area

    Your sleeping area and what you do during the day can affect how well you sleep. Too much noise, light, or activity in your bedroom can make sleeping harder. Creating a quiet, comfortable sleeping area can help. Here are some things you can do to sleep better.

    • Use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex.
    • Move the TV and radio out of your bedroom.
    • Try not to use your computer, smartphone, or tablet to compute, text, or use the Internet while you are in bed.
    • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Use curtains or blinds to block out light. Consider using soothing music or a "white noise" machine to block out noise.

    Your evening and bedtime routine

    Having an evening routine and a set bedtime will help your body get used to a sleeping schedule. You may want to ask others in your household to help you with your routine.

    • Get regular exercise but not within 3 or 4 hours before your bedtime.
    • Try to not use technology devices such as smartphones, computers, or tablets during the hours before bedtime. The light from these devices and the emotions that can result from checking email or social media sites can make it harder to unwind and fall asleep.
    • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. You might want to take a warm shower or bath, listen to soothing music, or drink a cup of noncaffeinated tea.
    • Go to bed at the same time every night. And get up at the same time every morning, even if you feel tired.
    • Use a sleep mask and earplugs, if light and noise bother you.
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      Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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      You say you are able to function well with fewer than seven hours of sleep. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

      Since you usually get too little sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have insomnia or other conditions affecting your sleep.

      Sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term consequences. Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's not surprising you feel that you're not functioning at your best today. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

      Since you usually get too little sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have difficulty sleeping, have insomnia, or have other sleep disorders.

      Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's not surprising you feel that you're not functioning at your best today. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

      It's good that you usually do get more sleep, since sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term consequences. Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. And if you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      You say you are able to function well with fewer than seven hours of sleep. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

      It's good that you usually do get more sleep because sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term consequences. Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. And if you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's not surprising you feel that you're not functioning at your best today. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

      Since you usually get less sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have difficulty sleeping or have insomnia or other sleep disorders.

      Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Whether your sleep routine involves taking a warm bath, reading a book, or meditating, it's important to keep your bedtime and routine consistent every night and wake up around the same time every morning.

      Click here to read more about the importance of sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and wake time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Since you usually sleep this amount, if you often aren't feeling your best, you should consider talking to your doctor. Could you have an underlying condition? Are you feeling anxious or depressed? Have you taken medication that disrupted your sleep? Do you or could you have sleep apnea? Or do you naturally require a little bit more sleep?

      Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can also have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and wake time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Since you usually sleep longer, if you often aren't feeling your best, you should consider talking to your doctor. Could you have an underlying condition? Are you feeling anxious or depressed? Have you taken medication that disrupted your sleep? Do you or could you have sleep apnea? Or do you naturally require a little bit more sleep?

      Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can also have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Whether your sleep routine involves taking a warm bath, reading a book, or meditating, it's also important to keep bedtime consistent and wake up around the same time every morning.

      Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and waking up at the same time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health.

      Since you usually get less sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have insomnia, another sleep disorder, or conditions affecting your sleep.

      Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health.

      Since you usually get less sleep, talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have insomnia or another sleep disorder or conditions affecting your sleep.

      Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

      SOURCES:

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Effect of short sleep duration on daily activities--United States, 2005-2008. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011; 60:239.

      Carskadon, MA, Dement, WC. Normal Human Sleep: An Overview. In: Principles and Practices of Sleep Medicine, Fifth, Kryger, MH, Roth, et al. (Eds), Elsevier Saunders, St. Louis, MO 2011. p.16.

      Harvard University: "Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety."

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