According to the National Sleep Foundation, restlessness and sleepless nights are common nuisances that affect nearly 62% of American adults. Sleep deprivation plays a crucial role in hampering efficient mental and physical functioning, thereby deteriorating the quality of life. It may result in memory complications, difficulty focusing and thinking, and moodiness. Chronic sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, and insomnia can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and an indisposed immune system.
Studies also highlight that individuals who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or poor sleep are at an elevated risk of developing cancer and a reduced recovery rate from the disease. Several studies about the relationship between sleep, fitness, and disease are underway, but that does not steal the spotlight from the vitality of a good night’s sleep.
You can determine if you are getting adequate sleep quality and duration by assessing how you feel during the day. You should feel prepared for the day, well rested, and energetic instead of sleepy or groggy. If you are apprehensive about your sleeping habits, you can sit in a sleep study, have a sleep apnea test, or ask a sleep apnea specialist for an at-home sleep study.
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Sleep Hygiene and How to Improve It
Various factors can affect a good night’s sleep, ranging from illness and lifestyle to family obligations and stress. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is crucial for getting adequate sleep and is not as arduous as it sounds: it starts by making a few simple lifestyle and behavioral changes. Although it is not possible to control all the factors that may affect sleep, some of them are in our hands.
Let us look at a few habits that can help you sleep better at night:
Follow a sleep schedule.
Your sleep schedule should entail no more and no less than eight hours of sleep every night. Since the recommended sleep duration is at least seven hours, most individuals do not need more than eight hours of sleep to be active and well-rested. It is also essential to go to bed and get up at a particular time every day, even on the weekends, as following a consistent schedule strengthens the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Do not force yourself to sleep if you do not feel sleepy within twenty minutes of going to bed. An adequate approach is to leave your bed and do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to calming music. You can go back to bed if you feel tired. You may repeat this schedule as per your requirement for as long as you need to develop and maintain your sleep and wake-up time.
Eating and drinking count!
Going to bed overly stuffed or hungry may affect your sleep schedule. You should avoid large or heavy meals a few hours before bed as discomfort may affect your sleep cycle. Intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before sleep should be avoided, as the stimulating effects of caffeine and nicotine may interfere with sleep and take a long time to wear off. Although alcohol can trigger sleep at first, it will likely disturb your sleep later on.
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Create a peaceful environment.
Your environment matters a great deal in improving your sleep schedule. Make sure that it is quiet, cool, and dark, as exposure to light can make sleeping challenging. If you cannot attain such an environment, consider using earplugs, room-darkening shades, fans, or other devices that can help you sleep better. Relaxation techniques such as taking a bath before bed can also help.
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Reduce daytime naps.
Daytime naps can disrupt your sleep cycle and interfere with nighttime sleep. It is advisable to avoid sleeping later in the day and limit daytime naps to a maximum of one hour to sleep better at night.
Regular physical activity works wonders in promoting a better sleep cycle. However, choosing an appropriate time to sleep is necessary, as being too active near your bedtime can interfere with sleep. Spending some time outdoors can also help you get better sleep.
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Manage your worries before sleeping.
Try your best to sort out your concerns and worries before bedtime. In this regard, you can take help from journaling, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, meditation, and management. Management stems from the basics: staying organized, delegating tasks, and setting priorities.
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Contact a healthcare provider when necessary.
Having an occasional sleepless or restless night is highly common, but you should be aware of when your condition demands medical attention. If you have frequent trouble sleeping, it is necessary to contact a healthcare provider or a sleep apnea specialist to diagnose and treat any underlying cause that may be bothering you.
You can book an online appointment with a certified sleep apnea specialist within minutes at SleepRx and book an at-home sleep apnea study or online sleep apnea test!