Welcome to my first blog post! Over the last two decades of exclusively practicing sleep medicine, I have learned so much from my patients, mentors, and other doctors. I am really excited to share my experiences with everyone who has an interest in sleep!

For my first post, I decided to talk about the #1 question I get from patients, family, friends, and anyone I meet at a cocktail party – what is the one secret for perfect sleep? I smile as I am writing because there is no one answer to that question, and a short blog post cannot possibly provide that magic solution. However, it’s a great discussion topic to start and lays the foundation for future blog posts.

Have you ever had a rough night of poor sleep, and you stumbled across a list like this?

• Set a bedtime that’s early enough for you to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
• Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
• Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
• Use your bed for only sleep or sex.
• Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
• Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime.
• Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
• Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon or evening.
• Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
• Reduce your intake of fluid before bedtime.

These tips are all true, and they are frequently quoted and requoted. Why then, do you read a list like this, and still wind up asking, what is the REAL secret? Maybe you’ve made every effort to follow this list, but still seek the help of a sleep specialist? I think there are several reasons.

01 | Like any good thing worth having, good sleep takes time and effort

A lot of the current health, wellness and medical culture has convinced us to think that there is a quick fix for almost anything – lose 10 lbs. in one week on a new diet, drop your cholesterol with a new pill, improve your mood with a new meditation app. Good health doesn’t mean one workout, a good diet doesn’t mean one vegan meal, and good sleep…you get my point. Sometimes people have an underlying medical issue (like sleep apnea) or an environmental factor (like a noisy neighbor) that once addressed quickly improves their sleep. But more often, people have multiple issues impacting their sleep. It can take time to prioritize which issues are most the important to address. Then it takes some additional effort to identify acceptable interventions. But one thing I have learned is that sleep is so fundamental to our well-being, that even a small improvement can have a big impact. It is worth the time and effort!

02 | Guidelines are just that – guidelines

These tips represent a thorough list of key factors that impact human sleep. However, it is important to remember that each person is unique, and I can’t say enough about that. I’ve had patients who could watch TV right up until bedtime and sleep well, but if they drank a decaf coffee after 2pm, they would not sleep the entire night. Guidelines point us in a particular direction, but they are not a formula or doctrine. The tips need to be interpreted in the context of each unique person’s body and lifestyle.

03 | Lists are daunting

When a person is asking for help, being handed a list of things to do (of which more than half may not be pertinent), might seem overwhelming. That person has an idea that something specific is wrong…that something changed, but they aren’t sure what it is, or what to do about it. People need more concrete and customized suggestions.

04 | Life gets in the way

People often have life circumstances that prevent them from following every item on a list like this. Perhaps they live in a small space with other people, or they work late hours on a computer, or they frequently travel across multiple time zones. None of that is their fault, but it makes the guidelines seem unrealistic and unattainable. The key is to figure out if there might be a plausible compromise, or maybe a simple “life hack” that at least provides partial impact. The most important thing is not to give up. I am hopeful that posts on this blog will help someone out there identify a particular solution they had not considered before.

Notwithstanding these realities, there are some universal takeaways that I can share, which I think illustrate some of my philosophy, and suggest how a list of guidelines like this can still be helpful.

05 | Each human being is unique, complex, and dynamic

We are constantly changing, every minute, every hour, every day. Every person is unique. Just as I try hard to listen to my patients, you must listen to your body! It might be trying to tell you what it needs. Also, realize that what works for someone else might not work for you, and that is just fine. So go ahead and read lists like these guidelines, and if something jumps out at you (good or bad), think about what that might mean for you.

06 | An educated patient is a more successful patient

When people understand not only the science behind their sleep issues but also the reasons for the recommendations, they become invested in the solution and work together with the doctor as members of the same team. You don’t need a background in medicine for this, just a good explanation. I am hopeful that future blog articles will help explain some of the underlying science for why we believe certain things are important to good sleep.

07 | Don’t beat yourself up if life gets in the way of consistent sleep

While a consistent schedule and sleep routine is the goal, everyone is unique and has different life situations, health concerns, and needs in their sleep journey. Making adjustments in the process is typical. It might be two steps forward and one step back, but you are trying, and that’s what matters.

So, back to the cocktail party question, “What is the secret for perfect sleep tonight?” My first question back to that person is typically: “What is the one thing that you think is hurting your sleep the most right now?” I can promise you that about 99.9% of the time, they have an answer right away. I usually then learn that they know what they should do, but something in their lives made it too difficult to keep it up.

This is where I am hopeful that by sharing comments and insights on current medical research, as well as tips and tools from real patients’ sleep journeys, this blog might help people identify a new approach to their problem and a new motivation to try. Sleep is central to people living their fullest lives and I’ve dedicated my career to helping people improve their sleep. Please keep reading and I hope you will find something meaningful to your sleep journey!


  • Do you have a hard time falling asleep?
  • Are you frustrated that you regularly wake up in the middle of the night?
  • Even if you sleep, do you still feel tired?
  • Do you have a hard time staying awake during the day?
  • Does your schedule make it hard to find the right time to sleep?
  • Is your bed partner frustrated by your restlessness?
  • Is your sleep suffering as you approach menopause?
  • Do you hate your CPAP?

Sleep Well Doc is out of network with insurance

Payment is due at the time services are rendered. We are not in network with any insurance, and have opted out of Medicare. We accept cash, check and credit card. If you have out-of-network benefits with your commercial insurance, you may be able to receive some reimbursement from your insurance company. You can request that we provide you a superbill which you can submit to your insurance. We do not take responsibility for coordinating this.

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