Unlock the secrets of sweet dreams during better sleep month

NOW: Unlock the secrets of sweet dreams during better sleep month

MILWAUKEE (CBS58) – May is 'Better Sleep Month,' but how often are you getting a good night's rest?

There's a lot we are told about getting better sleep there's a whole genre of music about it, you could try counting sheep, and have you heard about ASMR? Millions will swear by it, but no one really seems to know if it works.

Experts say we’re supposed to get about 8 hours every night. That means we should be spending one-third of our lives in bed, but for many of us, that’s not happening!

"15-20% of American population has significant insomnia," said Sleep Specialist Dr. Waleed Najeeb.

According to Sleep Specialist Dr. Waleed Najeeb in Milwaukee, if you have trouble falling and staying asleep at least three nights a week over the course of a few months, that is insomnia.

So where do most people start? CBS58's Pavlina Osta went to Steinhafels' Waukesha location for advice on picking the right one.

"You can't put a price on a good night's sleep and your health," said Steinhafels Sales Associate Joel Berth.

There are so many mattresses on the market: plush, firm. Some even have special technology – mattresses that can move or cool you down throughout the night.

"A lot of people when they come in here they don't even know – the technology, the different types of mattresses, the adjustable base, the pillows," said Berth.

Berth says most people come in complaining they have back or neck pain.

"Customer will come in here and say my doctor said to get a firm mattress and that's not necessarily what you want a lot of time what they mean is a supportive mattress," said Berth.

The mattress is just one part of the sleep equation though, some insomniacs will search for sleep in the medicine aisle. Founder of Hayat Pharmacy, Dr. Hashim Zaibak says a lot of patients come in asking for help.

"The most common is Diphenhydramine which is also used in Benadryl. People think of it for allergy, but it can help with sleep. The challenge with that one if you take it at night, you might still be a little sleepy when you go to work the next day," Dr. Zaibak explained.

He says it can also become ineffective if you take it for more than a few days, as for melatonin...

"Clinical studies that show melatonin can help short term and there are clinical studies that show it's really not effective," said Dr. Zaibak.

Prescribing sleep medications is not Dr. Zaibak's first choice.

"Always try the natural way which is to avoid screens phones an hour before you go to sleep, try to exercise during the daytime - that will help you sleep better at night, avoid caffeine and large meals at night, prepare your room so it's the perfect temperature and make sure it quiet," Dr. Zaibak explained.

These are all things we have heard before, the problem is we do not do it, but doctors say it's critical we take sleep seriously.

"Clinical studies show that people who sleep better have a lower risk of strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, it even effects the weight," said Dr. Zaibak.

In the end there are many ways to prioritize better sleep, but the best advice might be found in our dreams.

"When you see a dream and it's confusing, you don't know what it means, that's because you're sleep quality isn't good. Your brain isn't organizing your information in the right way," Dr. Najeeb explained.

"When you have good sleep, usually the dreams are better and more interpretable, more understandable, sometimes more helpful. So, if you have dreams upsetting you and you cannot make sense of it look at the quality of your sleep," said Dr. Najeeb.

Doctors say you can take steps to prioritize a good night's sleep and if you're still having trouble, ,maybe it is time to turn to a sleep specialist.

"People who sleep better have a healthier life," said Dr. Zaibak.

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