Sleep is key to a healthy life, so why do so many people struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep? Something as small as a different pillow can disrupt your normal sleep routine, and for those with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, this can be detrimental to their health.
Practicing good sleep habits is easier said than done, but making small changes to your routine can be the best way to ensure you find sleep fast.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, the best thing for anyone to do is find a routine that works and stick to it every night. This looks a little different for everyone, but the main things to keep in mind are making sure you don’t eat or drink a lot less than an hour before bed, eliminate any type of technology or brain stimulating activity an hour before bed, and skip caffeine of any type a few hours before bed.
- Taking naps has been proven to be beneficial for physical and mental health, but timing is important. You don’t want to take a nap too close to your normal bedtime, and you don’t want to take a nap for so long that you wake up after only a few hours of sleep at night. Consistent REM sleep matters more than how many hours in a day you sleep; for example, if you take a two hour nap in the morning, and a two hour nap in the afternoon, but only sleep for three hours at night, you are not getting the consistent 7-8 hours recommended by physicians.
- Some medications may interfere with normal sleep patterns, either by causing drowsiness at inconvenient times or by causing restlessness. Talk with your doctor about your medication schedule and the effects they have on you so that you can set yourself up for the best possible sleep.
- Keeping a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and proteins can help improve sleep quality. Avoiding extensive use of nicotine and liquor can also help your sleep pattern find balance.
- Make part of your bedtime routine creating a restful environment where you sleep. Keep the room dark, and if you must have some form of light, make sure it isn’t a blue toned light. Make sure you have no extra noises, such as television or loud music, and if you live in a city where outside noises are common throughout the night, consider getting earplugs or playing white noise at a low volume. Sometimes it helps to do meditation or yoga before bed to allow your heart rate to find a good resting pace and your brain and body to relax.
If you experience a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, your health depends on you finding better sleep. Always talk to your doctor to find the best solutions for your sleeping habits.