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Solving Sleep Problems

A night of restless sleep or insomnia can leave you feeling groggy, tired and unhappy the next day. Not only that, it can also damage your health.

The deepest stage of sleep, called rapid eye movement sleep or REM, is the most restorative part of sleep. That’s when your body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, consolidates memories and strengthens the immune system.

So it’s alarming that research from the National Institute on Aging shows more than half of all seniors - some 57% - have difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep.

Neurologist Lawrence Kneisely, Medical Director of the Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center can help.

“Sleep is really part of medicine,” says Dr. Kneisely. “You’ve got to know medical diseases and how they can affect sleep. Often, when you treat the underlying cause of poor sleep patients begin to sleep soundly again.”

Common causes of night wakefulness that require treatment include joint pain, frequent urination, restless legs, periodic limb movements, anxiety or depression and snoring.

“Many people who report poor sleep may not realize that they’re snoring, or moving their legs but their bed partners do,” says Dr. Kneisely. “Usually I talk to the senior and their bed partner and we make a list to identify what is waking them up.”

Dr. Kneisely works with the patient to regain sleep of the recommended seven to nine hours a night.

“You’ve got to treat the whole person,” says Dr. Kneisely. “Any doctor can write a prescription for Ambien (a sleeping pill), but with older people I’m very cautious about using Ambien because of side effects such as forgetfulness and goofy behavior like driving somewhere and not remembering it. That being said, some seniors will benefit from a sleeping pill. For others, it’s better to take a doctor-prescribed melatonin (a hormone in the body that regulates sleep).”

Dr. Kneisely recommends overnight sleep testing called a polysomnogram for some seniors. Patients receive this outpatient test at the sleep-recording laboratory of Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center located in the Thelma McMillan Professional Building at 3333 Skypark Drive in Torrance.

If you’re interested in learning more about solving sleep problems call Dr. Kneisely at 310- 530-8822 or visit

Dr. Kneisley’s Tips for a Better Night Sleep Include:

• A regular bedtime and wake up time that’s not too early or not too late.

• Avoiding fluids three to four hours before bedtime.

• Avoiding alcohol in the evenings.

• Taking the television out of the bedroom and avoiding TV before bed.

• Reading a non-stimulating book before bed.

• Taking a warm bath before bed.

• Relieving snoring by sleeping on your side, maintaining a healthy weight, raising the head of your bed or using Breathe Right® nasal strips available over-the-counter.

Categories: Healthy Living,News

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