Sleep deprivation affects more than 70 million Americans. People are spending $24 billion a year just trying to fall asleep. Melanie is a 31-year-old teacher who runs her own business on the side. She says she can't sleep even when she's exhausted and often uses sleep aids.
Dr. Michael Breus, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's Four-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, says several factors contribute to Melanie's lack of sleep. The first, he says, is her puppy. "A lot of people actually find that if they're sleeping with an animal in bed, some animals can snore louder than some human beings. So we have to be kind of careful about that," Dr. Breus says.
Melanie's apartment is also noisy, Dr. Breus says. "One of the things I asked her to do was try some very simple earplugs and to put a towel beneath her door, because the door doesn't reach the jam and so there's an area where sound can get through very, very easily," he says.
Because Melanie is so busy, it's hard for her to clear her head. "There's always things on my mind," she says. Dr. Breus asks her to start keeping a "worry journal" to get those thoughts out before she crawls under the covers.
A few months after talking to Dr. Breus, Melanie says she now sleeps eight hours a night—even with her puppy still sharing her bed.