The Doctors uncovers your biggest bedtime blunders.
• Do you have trouble falling — and staying — asleep? Learn why sleeping pills aren’t the answer, and get tips for better sleep tonight.
Buying a Bed
Are you resting on the right mattress? Choosing one goes beyond what’s comfortable, and Dr. Robert Oexman, a sleep and bed expert with the Sleep to Live Institute, helps pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears find the perfect mattress using state-of-the-art diagnostic technology.
“We developed this diagnostic system that literally measures your body,” Dr. Oexman says.
The system measures a person’s height, weight and weight distribution, shoulder, waist and hip width, and one's lumbar curve flexibility. “Based on all that information, now we’re going to be able to select the right mattress,” Dr. Oexman says. “Based on the research and studies we’ve done in sleep clinics, we know that [choosing the right mattress is] going to allow you [to have] a great night of sleep, and allow you to wake up feeling good every morning.”
See the results of Dr. Sears’ mattress test, and find out how to shop for a bed with the diagnostic test results.
Whether you’re a side or stomach sleeper, the way you lay can affect your health.
“When you talk about sleeping, you’re spending, hopefully, seven or eight hours a night doing it,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “If you sleep in an improper position, it can cause back and neck problems.”
To get in the best sleeping position, align your hips, legs and knees to ease back pain, and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
In addition to aches and pains, sleeping in the wrong position — primarily on your side — can cause cleavage and facial wrinkles.
If side-sleeping has created unwanted wrinkles on your chest, there is a cure. In January 2009, plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon — assisted by world-famous comedienne Joan Rivers — performed a cleavage rejuvenation procedure to help Andrea, then 48, eliminate her wrinkles.
• Dr. Lisa reveals how you should — and shouldn't — sleep during pregnancy.
Brandon, 22, recently graduated college, and is used staying up late and waking up around 11 a.m. Now that he’s on the job hunt, however, he wants to transition from being a night owl to an early bird.
“In college, you tend to go to bed at 2, 3 a.m., and your body wants to sleep for seven or eight hours. So, in the early morning hours, you’re tired,” Dr. Travis says. “You need to shift that.”
Humans have a natural circadian rhythm that operates on a 24-hour schedule based on daylight and darkness. Sunlight is the brain's natural alarm clock and decreases melatonin, a chemical in the brain that is heightened during sleep. In general, we are most alert at noon and sleepiest between midnight and 6 a.m.
Tips for resetting your sleep cycle:
• Exercise to create exhaustion during the day, so you are ready for bed earlier. Exercise also promotes blood flow, which helps you sleep.
• Make an early morning appointment that you have to be awake for by 6 or 7 a.m.
• Avoid naps and stay awake throughout the day.
• Use the sunlight. Keep your blinds open so the rising sun helps wake you up.
• Once the alarm goes off in the morning, turn the lights on in your house.
“Within [a few] days, you will have that little shift in your circadian rhythm,” Dr. Travis says.
• More tips for a good night's sleep.