Self Applied Methods: Sleep Hygiene
It’s easy to forget that one of the most significant contributions that scientific medicine has made to the world is our knowledge of hygiene. Hygiene doesn’t only mean the means by which we eliminate bacteria and viruses from the environment. It also describes the means by which we control our environment. Sleep hygiene means literally changing your habits in ways that will foster better sleep. For those who suffer sleep apnea, simply changing around their sleep schedule and lifestyle habits can bring significant relief from many of the worst symptoms of this life-threatening disorder.
Good sleep hygiene starts with having a set time at which you wake up every morning. If you go to bed late, you should still wake up at the same time. Your body has sort of an internal clock although, unlike a mechanical clock, changing the time at which it wakes you up is more involved than turning a lever. If you get your body into a habit of falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day, you’ll get better and more restful sleep. If you wake up at irregular hours, you may find that your sleep apnea symptoms are worsened.
You want to make sure you get exercise for several reasons. Sleep apnea is more common among obese people and many patients will be recommended to lose some extra weight. Exercise also promotes deep sleep and allows your body to burn off tension and extra energy. Remember not to exercise before bed, however. Exercise, while it does burn energy, also makes the body more energetic. When you exercise directly before bed, you may find the activity is a bit more invigorating than is useful when you want to sleep. Try to exercise in the morning, if you can.
Exercising in the morning, and the energy boost it gives, will allow you to eliminate caffeine, which is one of the principal enemies where getting a good night’s sleep is concerned. Caffeine stays in the body much longer than the initial lift it provides tends to make us think. Caffeine consumed in the morning can affect your nighttime sleep patterns. Caffeine has the effect of making sleep fragmented, which prevents your body from achieving the deep sleep necessary for you to feel refreshed and ready for a new day. You’ll sleep better, and wake up faster, once you give up the coffee.
Smoking and alcohol also profoundly affect sleep. Smoking is a CNS stimulant and, obviously, smoking cigarettes reduces the efficiency of your respiration. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke, which are already potential dangers of sleep apnea. Alcohol is a depressant. For those who already have a problem getting their body to sleep well, using chemicals that influence energy levels is obviously counterproductive. If you can’t fall asleep, try reading for a while. If you need to, get up and go to another room to keep your bedroom for sleeping only.
To learn more about Sleep Apnea treatments and to find out if they are right for you, contact Smile Studio LA at 818-788-1352 today for a free consultation!