Steve and Caroline West were typical small-town Oregon parents until October 19, 2005, when a lottery ticket that Caroline's mom, Frances Chaney, purchased came up in a $340 million drawing. Suddenly, the Wests and the Chaneys were some of the biggest lottery winners in history!
Although they purchased things like houses, cars and vacations to Italy and Hawaii, Caroline and Steve say they haven't changed all that much. "If we were to walk down the street, people wouldn't have a clue," Caroline says. "We still wear jeans and tennis shoes."
The Wests say they haven't forgotten what things were like before, when they were living paycheck to paycheck. Caroline kept her job driving a school bus, and the family still clips coupons. "We like to feel we're getting a deal," Steve says.
They say they have avoided the problems—divorce, bankruptcy and health issues—that beset many lottery winners. "Once we checked the numbers and it looked like we had won, we went online. And there's a website—You've Won the Lottery, What Do You Do Now?" Steve says. "It gave a lot of good information."
So how has life changed for these big winners? "We're debt-free," Steve says.
"It gives you a huge sense of security in knowing you don't have to worry about day-to-day anymore," Frances adds.
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.
Oprah has a sleep question of her own for Dr. Breus. "I can count a minute and 37 seconds from the time [Stedman] puts his head on the pillow [to the time he falls asleep]," Oprah says. "I want to know, 'What is that?'"
Dr. Breus says people who fall asleep that quickly may be sleep deprived. "[For] the normal individual, sleep is not an on/off switch," he says. "Falling asleep should take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes."
"I can't wait to go home and tell Stedman, 'You are sleep deprived, that is what your issue is,'" Oprah says.
There are 88 sleep disorders keeping people from the rest they need, including sleep apnea. When should you talk to your doctor if you're concerned you might have it? "If you find that you're snoring and somebody sees you stop breathing at night, and you wake up in the morning with headaches. If you find you're sleepy during the day when you're driving a vehicle, things of that nature, it's important to talk to your physician right away if you feel like you might have any sleep disorder," Dr. Breus says.
Still having trouble sleeping? Get Dr. Breus's bedtime essentials.
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