The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) annual report, “Sleep in America Poll,” has consistently shown that lack of sleep is a public health problem. Sleep disorders are a significant contributing factor to health concerns such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mood disorders.
You can improve your sleep and your health by following some simple tips.
Get regular exercise – Exercise is not just good for your body, it’s good for your mind and your sleep. Regular exercisers report fewer sleep problems and better sleep quality than those who do not exercise.
Create a regular sleep schedule – Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends. This will help your body get into a natural sleep rhythm.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed – Alcohol may help you fall asleep quickly, but it disrupts your sleep later in the night. Caffeine can keep you awake long after you’ve consumed it.
Avoid large meals and drinking fluids before bed – Eating a big meal late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep. Drinking fluids close to bedtime can cause you to wake up frequently to use the bathroom.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine – Wind down for 30 minutes before bedtime by reading, taking a bath, or listening to calming music.
Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet – Keep your bedroom dark by using blackout curtains or an eye mask. Keep the room cool by using a fan or air conditioning. And limit noise by using earplugs or a noise machine.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor – There may be an underlying sleep disorder that needs to be treated.
There are more than 80 different sleep disorders – Some are serious, while others are not so serious. Sleep disorders can keep you from getting the quality sleep you need to feel your best.
There are many things you can do to help yourself get a good night’s sleep -Tips for getting a good night’s sleep include:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including on weekends
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed
Avoid large meals before bed
Get some exercise during the day
Create a calm and relaxing bedtime routine
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find the cause of your sleep problems and suggest treatments.
Some of the most common sleep disorders include:
Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
Narcolepsy – sudden and uncontrollable bouts of sleepiness
Hypersomnia – excessive sleepiness during the day
Restless legs syndrome – uncomfortable sensations in the legs that cause a desire to move them
Bruxism – clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep
Sleep apnea – repeated episodes of stopping breathing during sleep
Circadian rhythm disorders – problems with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
It is evident that sleep disorders can have a negative impact on our health. Fortunately, there are ways that we can try to avoid them. By being mindful of our daily habits and making some small changes, we can get a good night’s sleep and feel better overall.
Stacey Jones is a clinical pharmacist from Iowa with a passion for helping people lead healthier, more fulfilled lives. She has been a licensed pharmacist for over 15 years and is currently a clinical pharmacist specialist in the hospital setting. For the last several years, Stacey has spoken at national conventions and led workshops on utilizing pharmacy services, medication safety, and optimizing medication accessibility in hospitals. Through her blog posts, Stacey hopes to provide the latest tips and advice on all things pharmacy related to her readers.