(WETM) - Sleep Awareness Week is underway, and if you struggle to get a good night's sleep, you're not alone. Cleveland Clinic sleep specialist Michelle Drerup, PsyD, explained about 30% of adults have symptoms of insomnia. So, how long should it take the average person to fall asleep? "Most people, if they don't have any sleep difficulties, probably fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes," Dr. Drerup said. "It varies as well. If it takes someone 45 minutes to fall asleep and that's normal for them and they allow enough time, it's not necessarily a problem." When it comes to getting quality sleep, what you eat and how often you exercise can play a big role. Dr. Drerup said eating a diet high in sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates can disrupt sleep. However, eating foods that are good for our overall health can help with sleep. She also suggests to start avoiding caffeine in the early afternoon. Dr. Drerup adds hitting the gym regularly can increase sleep quality and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. Along with lifestyle changes, people can try using white noise, like the sound of a fan, to wind down. She said a constant sound creates a masking effect to block out any other background noises. Above all, Dr. Drerup stresses it's crucial to avoid overthinking when trying to get some rest. "If you think about someone who sleeps well, they probably don't think about sleep at all. They just listen to their body when they feel sleepy and that's when they go to bed. They don't have these rules, or they don't have any real thoughts about sleep," Dr. Drerup said. "When someone has sleep difficulties, they get anxious about sleep. They start to dread going to bed. The harder you try to sleep, the least successful you're going to be.” If someone has a persistent issue with their sleep, Dr. Drerup encourages them to take note of their sleeping patterns and talk to their healthcare provider.
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