ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Soumya Sridhar, the Associate Medical Director for Highland Family Medicine, discussed insomnia and the path to a better night’s rest Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Insomnia is a problem with sleep,” Dr. Sridhar said. “People with insomnia have either trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or they do not feel well-rested when they wake up.”

Dr. Sridhar said many things can contribute to the development of insomnia. “There are a lot of factors. There are environmental, physiological, and psychological factors. Now psychological factors — these can include life-stressors, for example in the current COVID-19 pandemic just stressors from the pandemic could be contributing to insomnia, or stressors on the job, relationships, financial difficulties can also contribute to this.”

As we know, sleep is important to our health.

“It’s as important as physical activity or having a healthy diet and if someone is experiencing insomnia it can affect them both mentally and physically,” noted Dr. Sridhar. “People with insomnia typically report a lower quality of life as compared to people who are sleeping well. For example, they may also notice slowed reaction time while driving. There is a higher risk of accidents. And also, very importantly, worsening of high blood pressure or heart disease are also some important complications of insomnia.”

Dr. Sridhar said there are treatments for insomnia.

“I think the most important thing is to always check with your family doctor or your primary care provider to find the right treatment for what is causing your insomnia. If insomnia is related to pain or a medical problem then your primary care provider will tailor the treatment towards that first. There are some treatment options available, commonly cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT can help. There are some medications that your health care provider can also prescribe to improve your quality of sleep or help with insomnia.”

There are also multiple steps you can take to ward off insomnia.

“Lifestyle modifications around bedtime routines can certainly help,” said Dr. Sridhar. “These are what we call sleep hygiene routines. For example, some good sleep habits include keeping your bedtime and your awake time consistent on a day-to-day basis including weekends. Now it’s not always easy to add that set time even on weekends but that can certainly help improve the quality of sleep. Definitely cutting back on caffeine, alcohol use, and smoking can also help improve the quality of sleep. Reducing screen time, looking at the phone or TV just before going to bed can also help with insomnia. Staying physically fit, so more exercise can also help promote a good night’s sleep. And, finally, I do want to add making sure your bedroom is comfortable and reserved for bedroom activities, and creating a relaxing bedtime ritual — a warm bath or listening to calming music — can also help prevent insomnia.”