Tips To Help You Sleep - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tips To Help You Sleep

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How did you sleep last night? Chances are not well. Whether it's falling asleep or staying asleep, many people aren't getting the right amount of shut-eye and the affects of that can be harmful to your health.

For Glacier Confection manager Davis, "I just don't sleep that well. I'm always going."

Art student Tonya said "I do have trouble sleeping. I've always had trouble sleeping."

Start-up businessman Dustin Curzon, who works at Narrable on Brady, his work hours run late "And then I'm in work mode, so it's hard to fall asleep."

As many as one third of people have trouble sleeping.

Multi-tasking mom Marnie Fernandez said "It affects everything. It affects your clarity, it affects your mood, everything."

It also can effect the people you live with. Marnie's husband, Shane Fernandez, said "First thing I ask her every morning is 'how'd you sleep?' Because it kind of does two things: it lets me know if she's gotten enough sleep, and it also lets me know if she hasn't . . . what my day is going to be like."

The two balance a lot. Marnie just co-founded a new public relations business downtown called sixPR. After work she helps pick up the kids, four of them in four different schools.

After she's home, it's chores, dinner with the family, and her workday continues via her cell phone.

"I mean he (Shane) used to hide the phone from me at night," Marnie says about her husband laughing. "And that worked! But now I kind of have to-- you know for my job right now-- I sort of need it. But yes, I do check it all the time."

Like most families they're constantly going. And for Marnie, it's without her much needed sleep. Marnie said "It's a struggle. It is a struggle to make it through the day."

Dr. Hildebrand at Saint John Medical Center says "Sleep is much more important than I think people realize." She said when you aren't getting enough sleep it lessens your concentration, slows your problem-solving ability, and harms your immune system. "You're more likely to be sick, it affects other problems that you might have. So really, it's a big deal," said Dr. Hildebrand.

Here's her list of things to avoid in order to get better sleep:

-don't drink any caffeine after lunchtime

-don't exercise within 5 hours of going to sleep

-don't watch tv or have a stressful conversation

The "don't" that shocked me the most: alcohol. "Alcohol consumption right before bed. Even though it tends to make people sleepy, it actually can rev up your system and make you not sleep as soundly. So although you might fall asleep faster, i don't think you'll feel as rested. 6:30

Another major "don't" that most people do: look at your phone in bed. Dr. Hildebrand said "It activates neurotransmitters that awaken your brain basically. It takes another hour for it to turnoff, or at least calm down, to enter into sleep. I think the biggest piece of advice I can give to people is if you haven't fallen asleep in 20 minutes, get out of bed, leave your bedroom, you don't want to be sitting there in a cycle of associating not being able to sleep with your bed." So get up and do something relaxing like read a book (one with real pages and not one on your phone), listen to calming music, or knit (as an example).

Dr. Hildebrand also said to be careful self medicating. If you take over-the-counter sleep aids more than three or four nights a week and for more than two weeks you need to see your doctor. Because there could be a bigger underlying issue like depression, anxiety, diabetes, prostate problems for men, headaches, or sinus or allergy issues.

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