Are you one of the millions who struggle to sleep at night? Do you lie in bed worrying about the next day and think about everything you need to do – instead of thinking about sleeping? Blame it on stressful work lives, social media, and technology – but Americans are simply not getting enough sleep at night – with 40 percent of people feeling drowsing during the day. KSEE24’s Stefanie Bainum took a look at what might be causing your inability to get a good night’s sleep.

By STEFANIE BAINUM | February 27, 2017

"One-third of our life we spend sleeping, and we don't think it is important until we have a sleepless night."

Nothing feels quite as good as crawling into bed after a long day and drifting off to sleep, but what if falling asleep or sleeping through the entire night was just not that easy?

"I was waking up all the time and probably even as regularly as once an hour," said Douglas Johnson, of Fresno, who has had trouble sleeping.

It was a lot of rough nights for Johnson who said not getting enough sleep was turning him into a grumpy man.

"I was waking up all the time and probably even as regularly as once an hour"

"I couldn't quite understand why this was happening, and this was for several years," Johnson said.

Does this sound familiar? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – one in three adults do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night.

So what are we supposed to do about it? A first place to start is to focus on your breathing as you prepare for bed.

"The general population we are not really good breathers most people breath with 25% of their lung capacity," said Giovanni Pivirotto – a yoga instructor.

Taking big breaths is what Pivirotto said can really slow down your body and your mind.

"Ultimately yoga is a fantastic way to teach a person to relax and focus on a deep sleep," Pivirotto said.

Pivirotto recommends meditating before bed and doing a few yoga poses each night.

"So right before bedtime, you could have a 10 to 12 minute practice with some deep breathing, and we are just teaching ourselves to relax in a posture like this," Pivirotto said.

But if you're not good at slowing down, and yoga doesn't seem like your thing, maybe it's time to check out your hardware – which could be the culprit for those sleepless nights.

"Getting the perfect mattress for you to help you sleep – some people are not realizing how much sleep they are losing because they are tossing and turning,” said Andre Green of Ashley Furniture Homestore.

It's Green's job at the store’s sleep shop to get you the right mattress for your body.

"The best mattress for the best sleep is what doctor's recommend is our tempur-pedics for back alignment, and it can do a lot to help you sleep," Green said.

A Tempur-Pedic mattress could set you back anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000.

Green said no matter the mattress, just be sure to change it every eight years.

"If you've been practicing relaxation techniques, and you've got a brand new mattress – and you are still having trouble sleeping through the night – it could be the sign of something more serious" – KSEE24’s Stefanie Bainum said – something more serious like sleep apnea.

"If sleep apnea goes untreated, it can affect every system of our body from our brain to our toes," said Dr. Mazhar Javaid – a sleep specialist.

"If sleep apnea goes untreated, it can affect every system of our body from our brain to our toes"

Sleep apnea is a life-altering breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. Javaid, of the Central Valley Sleep Disorders Center, tests people for the condition and said if it goes untreated, it can have major health consequences.

"It can lead to memory changes, concentration changes – it can lead to stroke – 40 percent higher than the average population,” Javaid said.

Key symptoms of sleep apnea include: excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, headaches, and gasping for air during sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that sleep apnea affects 20 million people in the U.S.

So Johnson is only one of the millions who found out about his condition after undergoing a sleep test at Javaid's sleep lab in Madera.

"The test process is nothing you just go to sleep and then you are monitored very carefully monitored," Johnson said.

Javaid said people come down to the center to test their sleeping.

"They are in the sleep center eight hours a night they have electors placed on their brains and their eyes and censors on their nose and mouth."

It’s a one-night test with potentially life saving results. "When the doctor tested me – I'm surprised to find out that I had stopped breathing as many times as I did," Johnson said.

Now Johnson is hooked up to a CPAP machine every night – an effective treatment to his former sleepless nights.

"Put a mask over your face and you go to sleep – and the difference is you would sleep all night. It's a huge difference – it really is a life changing event," Johnson said.

It was a life-changing event for Johnson with no visit from the sandman required.

"One-third of our life we spend sleeping, and we don't think it is important until we have a sleepless night," Javaid said.

It’s even more of a reason to reconsider your shut-eye and to put sleep at the top of your priority list. A good night's sleep that equals a great day – now that's something we can all dream about.

Sleep Apnea Statistics

Data provided by The Sleep Foundation

Sleep Quality

Men vs. Women: Snore every night or almost every night

Men vs. Women: Trouble falling asleep 1 or more nights

Men vs. Women: Trouble staying asleep 1 or more nights

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