01/27/2012 11:20 am ET

5 Tips For Battling Extrinsic Sleep Disorders

Extrinsic sleep disorders are common sleep disorders. They usually affect everyone from time to time. We spoke to Roxanne Valentino, M.D., medical director of the St. Thomas Center for Sleep in Nashville, Tennessee, for one approach to the medical problems you or your loved one may suffer from when trying to sleep.

If you think you might have extrinsic sleep disorders, use this as a reference point before getting personalized medical advice from your doctor or other accredited sleep expert. --Shellie Braeuner

Extrinsic sleep disorders are things outside the body that prevent sleep. For example, some people lose sleep because the room is too hot or cold, there is too much light or noise or even because the bed is uncomfortable.


"It's not you," Dr. Valentino says. "It's your environment." Extrinsic sleep disorders are not a health issue, and they only become a health issue due to lack of sleep.

Keep Your Cool

"Keep your room cool for sleep," she advises. Cooler rooms help the body reach deeper sleep.

White Noise

"White noise or a fan helps drown outside noises," Dr. Valentino offers. A fan has the added benefit of keeping the room cooler.

Block The Light

"Keep the room dark," she says. Use high-quality shades or room-darkening curtains to block streetlights, headlights and other nuisances.

Turn Off The TV

"Don't use TV to distract yourself," Dr. Valentino says. Television stimulates the brain, just like sound, light and temperature. TV can keep people awake.

Roxanne Valentino, M. D., earned her medical degree from Ohio State University. She completed her residency at the Cleveland Clinic, then received a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic focusing on sleep medicine and neurophysiology. Dr. Valentino is certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and in sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine.

Have you ever suffered from an extrinsic sleep disorder? What worked for you?