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A Syracuse Expert's Advice on Sleeping Well

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Getting a good night’s sleep might not sound too difficult, but two-thirds of the world’s population struggles to achieve this goal. 

“We are not taught how to sleep well. And people don’t have any respect for good sleep. They think that it’s a waste of time, and therefore, they stay up all night, studying or working or partying,” said Antonio Culebras, professor of neurology at Upstate University Hospital.

Today is World Sleep Day, an annual event organized by the World Association of Sleep Medicinewhich aims to raise awareness about sleep disorders and promote healthier sleep habits for everyone. High quality sleep is long, seamless and deep enough for the person to feel well-rested and alert the next day, said Culebras, whois co-chair of this year’s event.  

WAER's John Smith reports on World Sleep Day.

Poor sleep practices can contribute tolong- and short-term health problems, he said. It can hinder concentration, mood and social functioning. It can also raise the risk of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, according to the organization. 

 A person’s lack of sleep can hurt others, as well. About 1,000 people die each year in car crashes caused by someone falling asleep at the wheel, Culebras said, adding that these deaths could easily be prevented. 

He points to the 10 commandments for a good night’s sleep, as listed on the World Association of Sleep Medicine's website: 

1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.

2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.

5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.

8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.

9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.
Valerie studies Newspaper Online Journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She began reporting for WAER in 2008. Two years later, she started helping produce the afternoon state and local newscasts. Then, her passion for radio led her to report and anchor local news for KBEC 1390-AM in Waxahachie, TX from 2011 – 2012. After returning to WAER, she jumped right back in as assistant producer and weekend reporter. Now, she’s primarily interested in multimedia journalism, telling stories through print, photography and audio for the web. But you can still hear her this fall, as Friday’s host for All Things Considered. She enjoys the beautiful scenery around Syracuse. And she loves serving Central New Yorkers!