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Tips from a sleep doctor

Invite your doctor into your bedroom for a night, and you may feel better in the morning. Dr. Michael Weinstein, director of the Winthrop Sleep Disorders Center at the Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, and Dr. Avram Gold, medical director of the Stony Brook University Sleep Disorder Center, answered pressing questions about sleep and the bedroom.

Q. Is it true that all TVs should be banned from the bedroom?

A. "There is a TV in my room and I didn't learn to associate my bed with wakefulness," says Gold, explaining that televisions are fine in a bedroom as long as those sleeping in the room don't have problems falling asleep. "If you don't have problems falling asleep, you won't make these associations and you won't create problems. If a person is a poor sleeper, there are recommendations like these made, and these things help minimally but you haven't solved the real problem."

Q. What is the ideal temperature for sleeping?

A. "There's no ideal temperature that's best for everyone, but most sleep experts recommend maintaining the bedroom in the range of 65 to 68 degrees," Weinstein says. "Extremes of temperature -- above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees -- tend to be disruptive of sleep. Most people sleep better at a temperature that is slightly cooler than the typical daytime temperature setting."

Q. Should a night light be present?

A. "Light is activating to the brain and interferes with sleep," says Weinstein. "The bedroom should be kept dark. To minimize early morning light exposure, blackout shades and eye masks can be helpful. These are particularly important for shift workers who are trying to sleep during the daytime."

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