Expert Tips and Tricks for a Great Night’s Sleep
National Sleep Awareness Week is March 13th through 19th. Sleep health is an important topic that is often overlooked. When you don’t get enough sleep your mental and physical health can suffer immensely. Here are some tips and tricks from our surgeons to ensure you get the best sleep possible!
Establish a sleep routine. “Go to bed the same time each night and get up the same time each morning,” says Dr. Anjeanette Brown, “Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night is a good rule of thumb.” Irregular sleep patterns can affect your circadian rhythm and your melatonin levels, which signal your brain to sleep.
Adjust your environment if needed. Sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable environment. If your room is too bright, consider getting black out curtains or wearing a sleep mask. If your house or apartment is noisy, consider getting a white-noise machine or fan that can help soothe you and block out any external noise. Make sure your room is not too hot and not too cold; around 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit is best for sleeping. If comfort is your issue, try out different pillows or mattresses that address your specific needs.
Wind down as needed. Be sure to limit the use of electronics before bed. “It’s best to ditch electronics at least one hour before bedtime,” says Dr. Ann Chuang. Blue light restricts the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm. “Be sure to relax before bedtime. Trying a warm bath and reading might help,” says Dr. Brown.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine and other stimulants like nicotine should be avoided, especially later in the day. Alcohol also reduces the amount of REM sleep you get at night, which helps you make and retain memories.
Make physical activity a priority. Exercising regularly can promote better sleep. It is important to make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, though, as that can have an opposite effect.
Reduce daytime naps. If you’re someone who naps regularly, it can be negatively affecting the sleep you get at night. Try to limit daytime naps and when you feel the need to take one, keep it to around 30 minutes.
This week and every week, make sleeping better a top priority! If you are experiencing ongoing difficulty sleeping, please be sure to consult your physician to rule out any sleep disorders.