Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is sleep?
- What causes the body to sleep?
- What are the stages of sleep?
- How long does it take to get REM sleep?
- Why is REM sleep important?
- What percentage of sleep should be deep sleep?
- How much sleep does a person need?
- Does the amount of sleep we need change as we age?
- What are signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?
- What are and what causes sleep disorders?
- How are sleep problems diagnosed?
- How are sleep problems treated?
- Sleep hygiene
- Other therapies
- Sleep aids (prescription and OTC)
- Are sleep problems and disease related?
- How can I get a good night's sleep?
- Sleep FAQs
- Find a local Sleep Specialist in your town
How are sleep problems treated?
The treatment of sleep disorders depends upon the exact disorder and the degree of severity of the symptoms. Both medical and non-medical approaches are generally used in the treatment of sleep disorders. In some cases, such as sleep apnea, surgical treatments may be considered. In some patients, more than one type of sleep disorder may be present, requiring a combination of treatment considerations.
Non-medical treatment options are often referred to as sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the practice of behavioral habits that offer the maximum potential for restorative and sound sleep. Good sleep hygiene practices include:
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol use before bedtime. Some studies have shown that caffeine consumed early in the day can have an effect on the ability to fall asleep at night.
- Have and adhere to a regular bedtime and waking schedule.
- Maintain a comfortable sleep environment, including a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid watching television or using electronics with backlit screens in bed and falling asleep with the TV on in the room.
- Do not lie in bed awake, worrying about not sleeping (or anything else negative). This produces anxiety that can actually make the problem worse.
- Get regular daily exercise (it is recommended that individuals avoid exercise two hours prior to bedtime).
Of course, many people with sleep disorders will require treatment beyond sleep hygiene measures. Behavioral therapies are successful for many people who suffer from insomnia. These therapies may consist of stimulus control measures, such as using the bed for sleeping and sex only and not for other activities such as reading or TV watching. Sleep restriction therapies are often used to help individuals avoid staying in bed too long and actually over-sleeping after a night of insomnia.
Get tips for better sleep.