Ideal Sleep Hygiene

While you may know that there are numerous positive neurophysiological effects of sleep, as well as many negative effects when your sleep is disturbed, you may not be aware of the “ideal sleep hygiene” routines that have been found through numerous studies. Admittedly, some of these measures may seem rather extreme; our hope in sharing this information, however, is that there may be one or two tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve the quality of your sleep, if not the quantity.
Consider using blocks to prop up the head of your bed, or invest in a contoured “bed wedge” pillow that extends at least halfway down your back when you lay prone.
There is evidence to show that you may want to avoid more stimulating activities, such as exercising, in the hours immediately prior to bedtime.
Be aware of your food and drink intake. Avoid large or spicy meals, especially if you suffer from reflux. Avoid caffeinated drinks that keep you awake. Limit your alcohol intake, because it can induce a depressed quality of sleep rather than a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
About an hour before you plan to fall asleep, start dimming the lights, and get ready to turn off the television and log off the computer.
Shortly before you retire for the night, avoid back-lit electronics. They can often fool your brain into thinking it is still seeing natural sunlight and disrupt your natural melatonin production.
Try to keep the electronics out of your bedroom. The “bings” and vibrating of cell phones are notorious for pulling you back from the edge of sleep.
Studies have shown that 68’F is the ideal room temperature for sleeping. Turn down the air conditioning half an hour before you go to bed and pile on the quilts!
Shortly before bed, take a nice hot bath or shower, and then crawl into a relatively cold bed to increase your melatonin production.
Maintain the lowest level of lighting in your bedroom that you can. If possible, remove the nightlights and limit the lights that you turn on if you wake up to use the bathroom. For people working split-shifts, black-out curtains are often very helpful, as are eye masks.
Once you get into bed, stop watching the clock! Reminding yourself about the sleep you are not getting is not going to encourage that sleep to happen.
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep after thirty minutes, get out of bed. Read a light book, do an easy crossword puzzle, pet your dog, or prune your houseplants. When you are ready, go back to bed.
Be diligent with your sleep schedule, especially the time that you go to bed, all seven days of the week.
And, finally, remember the two S’s. You can train your body and mind that there are only two reasons to be in bed!
Sleep well, and call us in the morning if you have any questions about sleep apnea!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s