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Insomnia Treatment Tips From Actor Debi Mazar

Photo of Debi Mazar

Debi Mazar

You may know actor Debi Mazar from her work in the movie Goodfellas, and from her role as Shauna on the HBO hit TV show, Entourage. But I know Debi as a busy mom who struggles with insomnia.  I caught up with her a few days ago to find out how she’s coped with those sleepless nights.

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Dr. Val: When did insomnia first become a problem for you?

Mazar: Insomnia is surprisingly common. It affects 60 million Americans: 40% of women and 30% of men. My struggle with insomnia began in my mid to late 20′s when my professional and love life went into full swing. I ate well and exercised, but started having trouble falling asleep every night. I went to see a doctor because I didn’t realize that there were many things that I could do about it on my own.

Dr. Val: What are some of the non-medical treatments that worked for you?

Mazar: Cutting back on caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, and exercising only early in the day, having a healthy sex life, and getting myself on a sleeping schedule. I also tried to reduce stress levels in my life by not going to bed angry, by unplugging from TV and the Internet, and I made my bedroom a very cozy, dark environment that would be condusive to sleep. When you’re a mom, sleeping pills aren’t a good option because you might have to get up in the middle of the night. I have a full list of insomnia tips at

Dr. Val: I bet that insomnia is a common problem in Hollywood. Has that been your experience?

Mazar: I don’t consider myself to be part of “Hollywood” I’m just an average mom who worries about the world we live in and our economy. The news can cause a lot of anxiety – regardless of what you do for a living. It keeps us all awake at night. Of course, chronic insomnia can increase our risk of depression, weight gain, diabetes and hypertension.

Dr. Val: What is the most important thing for Americans to know about sleep?

Mazar: Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself, so sleep is essential for good health. Without it, we all fall apart.

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