Sleep Like A Pro, 5 Cutting Edge Tips For Sleep – Sleep hygiene has become a consistent topic of interest in the medical field and is a staple in our life balance and overall health. Behavioral medicine, Neurology, Cardiology, and Pulmonology are major see’ers of this widespread epidemic of poor sleep habits contributing to co-morbidity issues when looking at the big picture.
Today, technological developments make it available to the public by using online surveys, actigraphy, and/or physiological assessments to monitor our sleep behavior and troubleshoot any barriers that may be contributing to healthy sleep practices. Sleep deprivation and the lack of healthy habits are a public burden on society. It is estimated that 50-70 million Americans suffer from a chronic disorder of sleep and wakefulness. A cumulative effect of sleep loss and sleep disorders is associated with health consequences, including the increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke.
The body needs sleep to restore itself, as well as the stages of sleep to rejuvenate. Interruptions and lack of a healthy amount, between 6-8 hours, will not only collect a good amount of sleep debt but contribute to how you respond to environmental factors that may cause a threat to your body’s mechanism to fight for longevity. Non-REM sleep is vital for our bodies to replenish and REM for our cognitive health. Aside from eating right and staying active, sleep is being recognized more than ever as a significant donor of life’s balance and how we respond to everyday issues that may threaten our continuity.
Our daily routines, the medications we take, what we eat and drink, and how we schedule our days and evenings can profoundly impact our overall sleep structure. Even slight adjustments that will build a healthier routine will make a huge difference between sleeping soundly and having an interrupted night.
The association between poor sleep and sleep disturbances (insomnia as well as hypersomnia) in psychiatry is well-recognized; for example, those who suffer these disturbances have a risk of developing depression. These reductions or disturbances of sleep have been scientifically linked to influence metabolism and hormone balance. A major contributor to anxiety disorders, the most prevalent group of psychiatric disorders, frequently experience insomnia.
We all can be a little guilty of finding balance in our daily lives and making healthy sleep habits a priority. However, once you start making a schedule to structure good sleep hygiene, you will have the opportunity to feel and be in a place of a healthy life balance and will only reap the benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. To get you started on a healthy sleep cycle, here are five main tools to help you get started.
Limit your light exposure to avoid interrupting your circadian rhythm:
Do this by darkening your room and turning off all electronic devices. Even the slightest light from your television can trick the mind as it shines through your eyelids, exposing itself. This not only causes an interruption to your circadian rhythm, but it may also cause alpha bursts in your brain waves (micro-arousals). If you must sleep with the television on, try setting it on a timer.
Reduce your fluid intake before bed:
This does not only include water but also caffeine and alcohol. Despite the obvious reasons to avoid too much liquid before bed, alcohol is infamously known as “the nightcap,” however, it is short-lasting and can cause an increase in interrupted sleep as well as short sleep.
Try keeping a consistent bedtime routine:
Do this to allow for a healthy window of 7-8 hours, no less than 6 hours, to avoid sleep debt. Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy, and if you are not asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed. Our bodies’ sleep cycle will be interrupted with naps during the day, so try to avoid this to stay on track.
Remember, beds should be used for sleeping and sex and not used to do homework, watch TV, or anything unrelated. The goal is to build a healthy sleep pattern, and this is key. If you are tired and have mind chatter or what we call “monkey brain,” there are techniques to help you relax, such as meditation. If you are taking a sleep aid, be sure to take it at the same time to keep your sleep structure intact. Exercise regularly and avoid large meals before bed.
Exercise helps increase the production of melatonin:
This helps internal sleep regulation. Be sure to avoid any exercise right before bed and leave at least 90 minutes open to wind down, as this is necessary to allow the core temperature to fall and induce sleepiness. Eating large meals before bed does not allow your body to digest properly and can lead to several gastric issues. If you must eat, try a light snack.
Keep your room at a cool temperature:
This may have ramifications for REM sleep and blood pressure.
If you need help improving your sleep and need council, visit my website and let’s chat.
Read more from our Executive Contributor Dr. Tawnie.