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What can I do if I have trouble sleeping?

If your sleep problems persist for longer than a week and are bothersome, or if sleepiness interferes with the way you feel or function during the day, a healthcare professional's help may be needed. To get the most out of your appointment, you'll find that it is helpful to keep a diary of your sleep habits for about 10 days to identify just how much sleep you're getting over time and what you may be doing to interfere with it.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Even New York Yankees infielder Derek Jeter has something to ask Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University! "I have a question for you about lack of sleep. Here's the problem. It used to be one of my strengths, sleeping, but I don't know what happened," he says. "I tried everything. I mean, I'm up till three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning. I've tried watching TV. I've tried reading books. I don't know what the answer is. I'm tossing. I'm turning. This is pretty much an everyday thing."

What's Dr. Oz's number-one rule for sleeping better? "For four or five hours before you go to bed, you shouldn't have any caffeine," he says. "Remember that being asleep is a natural state. You're supposed to be asleep. There are chemicals that actually jazz you up."

Also cut out late-night TV, Dr. Oz says. "Watching TV is the worst thing to do late at night, because it gets you psyched up again. Plus, the bright lights keep you awake."

If you still can't sleep, do what your mother always told you to do and drink some milk. "It's got a little bit of protein, including something called tryptophan, which becomes melatonin and serotonin," he says. "But you need a little bit of insulin to get it into your brain. So milk's got a little bit of sugar in it that stimulates insulin, so it gets into your brain. That's why milk works."

If you often travel to different time zones, like Jeter does, Dr. Oz says to stay on a regular schedule. "No matter what time your game was, go to sleep at the exact same time. It makes a big difference because at least your circadian rhythm is functioning the way it needs to."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.