Dr. Malow Responds
You asked, and here are the responses:
Q: Is it bad to eat right before going to bed?
A: A light snack before bed is OK-helps quench hunger pains that can interfere with sleep. Avoid heavy meals as they can interfere with sleep as you are trying to digest your food.
Q: Is napping bad for you? Are there good kinds of naps?
A: Napping is OK as long as it isn’t too late in the day or too long. A short nap in the early afternoon is OK but not any later as that can interfere with your drive to sleep at night. Good naps are generally no longer than thirty minutes to an hour.
Q: If you can’t fall asleep, is it better to get up and do something or to lay in bed?
A: It is better to get up and do something if you can’t fall asleep after a few minutes, but be careful what you do! Don’t watch TV, check email or do anything else that is stimulating. Reading a boring book in dim light is a good idea.
Q: Is daytime sleepiness normal?
A: No. As long as you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep and don’t have any medical conditions that cause sleepiness, you should not be sleepy during the day. Sleepiness may be due to a treatable sleep disorder — ask your doctor if you need help.
Q: What does snoring have to do with being sleepy during the day?
A: Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, in which you wake up over and over during the night to breathe, without even realizing you are waking up. You don’t get the deep, restorative sleep you need to feel good the next day. This results in being sleepy during the day. It is very treatable.
Q: Why does drinking alcohol in the evening interfere with sleep?
A: While alcohol causes sleepiness, it also disrupts sleep in the second half of the night. It also causes obstructive sleep apnea to be worse by relaxing the upper airway muscles that control breathing. If you have trouble staying asleep or are sleepy during the day, consider cutting back on alcohol.