Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, is one of the most common complaints I hear every day. Patients typically report having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. It is important to discuss this with your doctor to determine if a medical condition may be contributing to your symptoms. Poor sleep is detrimental to both mental and physical health and can increase risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, depression, and obesity. You can often improve your sleep by engaging in good "sleep hygiene" practices: keep sleep and wake times consistent, even on weekends, turn off electronics 1-2 hours prior to bed, keep your bedroom cool and dark, and limit bedroom activities to only sleep and sex. Deep breathing for 5 minutes prior to bedtime can lower blood pressure and induce sleep. Over the counter supplements such as melatonin and Benadryl (found in Tylenol-PM, Aleve-PM, and ZzzQuil) may be helpful but should always be discussed with your doctor. Prescription sleep medications may be appropriate, but benefits and potential risks should always be taken into consideration and only after an appropriate medical workup. Visit www.ebrownmd.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.