An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Dr. Eric Dyken, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Iowa, says there are 95 different categories of sleep disorders to sort through, which means self-diagnosis is pretty tough.
"Sometimes you do need an expert," Dyken says. But if you want to take some steps to see if you can improve your sleep patterns, taking the TV out of the bedroom is one way to improve your sleep cycle. Dyken has his own nighttime routine. Between 10 and 10:30 he picks up a comic book to take his mind off the day’s events.
"I am not going to worrying about bills. I’m laying back there and I get this ginseng tea. Now, they tell me there’s caffeine in it, but I don’t care because — psychologically — my wife thinks it’s good. My friends think it’s good. It’s supposed to be holistic," Dyken says. "…I’m sitting there reading a comic book and I do that until my eyes are tired and I go to sleep."
The environment of the bedroom is important, too, according to Dyken. Dyken says keeping the room at a comfortable temperature, making sure the room’s dark and quiet are all parts of good "sleep hygiene." If you suspect you have a serious sleep disorder, Dyken suggests consulting with your family doctor first and waiting to see if they recommend a visit to a sleep clinic where you’d be observed sleeping.