Get extra sleep with THIS

Is there a better time to sleep than here in late autumn?

There's something about the cooler air that makes it so much easier to fall into slumber... and stay there.

No wonder bears go into a months-long snooze right around now!

But millions of Americans can't sleep well any time of year -- and no one knows that better than seniors, who suffer sleep problems at a much higher rate than everyone else.

Now, the latest research shows a simple and safe option for falling asleep and staying asleep. And while it's not ideal, it's certainly a whole lot better than medication.

It's a form of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI. What makes the new study encouraging is that you don't necessarily have to visit a psychologist to get the benefits.

Folks who received some training as "sleep coaches" were able to deliver the basics to seniors suffering from insomnia.

Some seniors in the study got one-on-one sessions, and some were given group counseling.

It didn't matter -- because seniors in both groups fell asleep 23 minutes faster than folks who were just given some basic information on how to sleep better.

Once asleep, they also did a better job staying that way, spending 18 fewer minutes awake per night.

That's actually BETTER than the benefit of common sleep drugs, which are shown by some studies to only add 10 to 20 minutes of sleep to your night.

That's not much of an improvement at all, and those few extra minutes come with big risks.

So, yes, CBTI is a better option than meds... and that's good news. Less time awake and more time asleep is exactly what you're looking for, right?

The bad news is, "talk" therapy will only get you so far, and I'm not sure it'll have any lasting effect on serious long-term sleep problems, especially once the therapy ends.

When most seniors can't sleep, there's a biological reason for it -- and no amount of talking will fix it.

In addition, going to therapy can be time-consuming and costly.

There's a cheaper and more permanent solution, and that's to find the true cause of your sleep problems.

You can do that with a simple two-step plan:

  1. First, to help get to sleep tonight, try natural science-backed therapies such as melatonin supplements and herbal remedies like chamomile, passionflower and valerian. You can often find all three in a single supplement or a sleep-inducing tea.
  2. Second, seek the advice of a holistic medical doctor who can figure out the real cause of your sleep disorders.

In seniors, it's often a drug side effect, hormonal imbalance, or even a nutritional deficiency.

For complete testing and treatment in the San Diego area, make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.