Sleep is one of the biggest influences on our everyday health and emotional well-being. If you often sleep poorly, you have a much greater risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and more. The human body needs at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep a night to repair its tissues and prepare for the next day.
Unfortunately our society isn’t tuned to help us get the sleep we need to maintain good health, but there are key things you can do to create better sleep patterns, and in turn, protect your body from disease:
Keep a sleep diary for 2 weeks. Before bed each night, write down what time you last ate, drank caffeine or alcohol, took medication, and when you went to bed. In the morning, write down when you think you fell asleep the previous night, when you woke up, and how you felt. Be sure to include any naps and how long they lasted during each day.
Review your sleep diary after 2 weeks and look for routines that affected your sleep negatively or positively. Compare your sleep diary to what medical professionals recommend for getting the ideal amount of rest.
Here are some healthy guidelines:
Follow a consistent bedtime schedule. You can help your body set its own sleep clock by keeping the same bedtime routine every day, even on weekends and holidays.
Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. Not only could this cause excess weight gain, but it forces your digestive system to work hard at a time when it should be resting and repairing. If you’re hungry before bed, have a light snack.
Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime, and don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon or evening. Both alcohol and caffeine can keep you from getting quality sleep. In general, limit your fluids before bedtime so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom.
Create a comfortable, quiet bedroom with a cool temperature. Make your bedroom a haven so you want to retire there at the end of each day. A cooler room temperature also encourages your body to sleep. Don’t watch TV in bed because that can stimulate your brain to stay awake.
Keep the lights low in the evening. Help your body ease into bedtime by dimming the lights, and put mobile devices away at least an hour before bedtime. Use bedroom curtains that prevent light from leaking into the room while you sleep.
Take melatonin before bed to encourage your body to sleep and rejuvenate itself. Melatonin is a safe, natural supplement that’s available over the counter. It can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, and it aids in important repair work while you rest.
Your body deserves the best quality sleep you can get. If you have questions about how to improve your sleep routine, call my office to schedule a consultation.