Updated: June 20, 2008

Chronic difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep can drive people crazy and affect so many aspects of daily life. Although the symptoms vary (snoring, insomnia, or the creepy agony of restless legs syndrome, to name just three afflictions), there are things that everyone whos looking for a good seven or eight hours should know.

Things like how to use over-the-counter sleep drugs and when to seek prescription meds. Things like the bedtime habits that can sabotage sleep and how to cope if your sleep problems persist.

The variety of symptoms is worth exploring, too, because some people aren't aware that the daytime tiredness they feel may be caused by sleep problems they don't even know they have.If you have a sleep problem, you also have company: 40 million Americans toss and turn. Use the guide below and the 10-step map to the left to begin your journey to a better night's sleep.

Our Sleep Health Journey team includes editorial adviser David Rapoport, MD; editor Amanda MacMillan; research editor Michael Gollust; lead writer Gail Belsky; and many contributing journalists.

• Go back to Sleep: Start Here page