Most-common sleep money-wasters

Americans spend a lot of money every year trying to get a good night's sleep, but it may not be working.

"I think that a lot of Americans are looking for a quick fix and, really, what we need to do is take a look at our sleep habits," said Lauri Leadley, president of Valley Sleep Center and community sleep educator.

Here are the top five money-wasters for our shuteye, according to Leadley:

1. Noise machines or noise apps

These can drown out noise, yes, but sleep experts say it can hurt your sleep in the long run, because it can be a bad habit, leading to no sleep if there's no noise.

"I want to caution parents against getting their children used to this type of thing, because they're going to grow up and won't be able to fall asleep without listening to their noise machine, which could be disturbing to someone else," Leadley said.

2. Special foam pillows and mattresses

It's important to find a pillow that will support your neck, but Leadley says it doesn't have to be foam.

"They're very warm to sleep on, so you want to make sure that you find one that's comfortable for you and your spouse," she said.

3. Sleep apps

These apps promise to track your shuteye, helping to wake you in the proper stage of sleep. Experts say this isn't really possible.

"You can only really, truly know what stages of sleep you go through by having a sleep study in the sleep center," Leadley said.

4. Alcohol

You might think alcohol helps you get sleepy, but that doesn't mean you'll get more rest. You'll be feeling the effects the next morning.

"While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it's going to fragment your sleep and cause you to feel unrefreshed throughout the next day," Leadley said.

5. Sleep aids

Whether your doctor prescribes something to help you sleep, or you get it over the counter, in the end, your sleep will not improve, according to Leadley. This includes melatonin.

"Anytime you put a drug into your body, it's going to interrupt your sleep," Leadley said. "You're affecting your brain, which is what needs to go through the stages of sleep, so any time you introduce an artificial substance, it might help you fall asleep, but it might cause you to feel unrefreshed the next day."

So what should we spend our money on for better rest?

The experts at Valley Sleep Center suggest spending money on keeping your bedroom dark and cool, specifically about 68 to 70 degrees. The National Sleep Foundation has six suggestions for designing an ideal bedroom for sleep: http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/six-tips-design-the-ideal-bedroom-sleep.

Keeping your bedroom cool can be expensive when it's hot out, but it could also be the best investment for a good night's sleep, says Leadly, along with a few other tips.

"If you're eating a healthy diet, you're staying hydrated, you're going to bed at the same time and you're waking up at the same time, your body will naturally create hormones that will help us fall asleep when we need to fall asleep and wake up when we need to wake up," Leadley said.

What do you use to help you fall asleep? Send a tweet to @stacia_naquin.


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