CHICAGO, June 30 (UPI) -- The longer days of summer daylight contribute to woes of the millions in the United States who have trouble falling asleep, a sleep expert says.
"The inability to get a good night's sleep can be a complex issue, and is not as simple to cure as telling people to count sheep," Dr. John Wilson, a neurologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System, near Chicago, said in a statement.
More than 40 million U.S. adults suffer from chronic sleep disorders, resulting in $18 billion in costs to employers due to sleep loss issues, Wilson said.
"Many societal trends such as working from home or swing shift workers have economic-based lifestyles that prevent regular sleep patterns," Dr. Omar Hussain, a pulmonologist at Gottlieb who is board certified in sleep medicine, said.
To help deal with summer sleep loss, Loyola medical experts suggested to:
-- At least 1 hour before bedtime, start quieting down and relaxing. Don't exercise or engage in vigorous activities.
-- Turn electronic devices off and put them in another room. That way, if you wake up in the middle of the night, you don't automatically reach for the phone but instead turn over and fall back asleep.
-- Close the curtains or blinds; darkness is conducive to sleep.
-- Diminish noise. Turn off the TV.
-- Maintain a comfortable room temperature.
-- Do not eat or drink several hours before bed to avoid sleep interruptions from toileting.
-- Check medications. Some people who take medications before bed may do better to take them in the morning when they wake up or vice versa. Talk to a physician about changing your pill dosing schedule.
-- Don't eat 2 hours or less before bed. If you have to have something, try a small cup of hot chamomile or other decaffeinated tea.
-- Don't drink alcohol. Alcohol does induce sleep but it is not restorative sleep.
-- Don't watch TV or play electronic games before bed and don't turn them on if you awaken in the middle of the night.