Better nights, better days!

When you think of good “hygiene,” you might imagine brushing and flossing your teeth, washing your hands or maintaining a spotless kitchen.  But what about good Sleep Hygiene?  Well, that’s a totally different matter.  Good Sleep Hygiene involves creating a pattern of habits that will optimize your sleep.  Just a few small changes can make a noticeable difference in the quality of your nighttime sleep and your daytime alertness.

Here are just five of the many tips to lead you on your personal journey to quality sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol near bedtime. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, cola and some pain relievers) is a stimulant.  Stay away from it 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.  As for alcohol, it may help you relax and feel sleepy, but the body’s reaction to it later in the night can act as a stimulant and decrease your quality of sleep.
  • If hunger pangs hit you near bedtime, eat something light and healthy–nothing too heavy, too rich and fatty or too sugary, like yogurt, nuts, milk, cherries, bananas and more.
  • Should a “racing mind” plague you as you try to go to sleep, keep a notepad and pen on your nightstand. Write down those things you need to remember for tomorrow.  You can then let go of the anxiety of forgetting and start to relax.
  • Nap early or skip it. A 20-30 minute “power nap” can rejuvenate you, but a late-afternoon nap longer in length can inhibit your sleep drive.  If you feel the need to nap, keep it short and before 5pm.
  • Establish a pre-sleep routine that is relaxing and calming. Read a book, take a warm bath or shower, do some relaxation exercises or stretching.  If possible, avoid anything stressful or emotionally upsetting before bedtime.

For more tips and information, please visit the National Sleep Foundation.

Written by Shannon Schaffer, Patient Access Representative, Aspire Sleep Diagnostics