Catching Your Z's

By: Dr. Amy Blanchard, MCG Sleep Disorders Center
By: Dr. Amy Blanchard, MCG Sleep Disorders Center

Augusta, Ga. -- You order an after-dinner coffee, then stay up late watching Letterman. You try to sneak in a nap to catch up, but still, fatigue is your faithful friend all day long. Then the cycle begins all over again.

We all love a good night’s sleep, but it can be elusive. Keep the tossing and turning at bay by following these tips:

Don’t nap. You may think you’re helping your body catch up, but that’s a myth. Taking a quick nap may help you feel a little more awake in the short term, but in the long term, it actually affects your nighttime sleeping, causing you to wake more often.

Don’t sleep in on the weekends. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, you train your body to know when it’s time to sleep, therefore improving sleep quality.

Work out. It makes sense that tiring out your body will help improve sleep. As a bonus, physical activity will also improve your overall health.

Aim for a good seven to eight hours every night. Just as we budget time for dinner, working out or time with friends, we need to budget time for sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep are recommended for better body function.

Wind down at nighttime. Save the coffee for breakfast, turn off the TV and make sure your bedroom is a restful environment for sleep. Regulate the temperature so you’re comfortable, and if noise is a problem, soften it with curtains or shutters, or soft music.

If all else fails, contact a specialist. If your fatigue continues to affect your day-to-day activities, you may want to contact a sleep specialist to see if a sleep disorder is interrupting the quality of your sleep. Sleep apnea, or an interruption in breathing during sleep, is one of the most common sleep disorders, but many people don’t realize they suffer from it until they undergo a sleep study. When seeking help, look for an accredited center that specializes in sleep.

For example, the MCG Sleep Disorders Center is the only facility in the region accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Sleep doesn’t have to be elusive. By improving sleep habits and getting help if needed, you can finally catch all the zzzz’s you need.

MCG Health System is composed of three organizations - MCG Health Inc. and the clinical services offered by the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia and the members of the MCG Physicians Practice Group. MCG Health, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation operating the MCG Medical Center, MCG Children’s Medical Center, the MCG Sports Medicine Center, MCG Ambulatory Care Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center and related clinical facilities and services. MCG Health, Inc. was formed to support the research and education mission of the Medical College of Georgia, and to build the economic growth of the CSRA, the state of Georgia and the Southeast by providing an environment for delivering the highest level of primary and specialty health care. For more information, please visit

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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