Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? Do you find yourself lying in bed staring at the ceiling, your mind racing? In this day and age, especially the electronic age we live in, many of us are ignoring ideal practices for good sleep hygiene. Dream Sleep Respiratory is all about a good night’s sleep and is here to help! The cardinal rule for sleep hygiene is this: Your bed should be used for two things and two things only: sleep and intimacy with your partner – nothing else.
Here are 8 things many of us do in bed that destroy our sleep hygiene:
Every time we like that Instagram photo, turn on Netflix, check emails, update our Facebook status, send a text, or scroll through Snapchat, our glowing cell phones and handhelds send out blue wavelengths of light, which in turn can hinder the release of the natural sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. A 2011 Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation showed that approximately 95% of people use electronic screen devices in the hours before bedtime. The solution: set an electronic curfew, a time to put your devices to bed. This can help you fall asleep more easily.
2) Watch Television or Read
Much like texting, TV disturbs your melatonin production and is NOT relaxing you. According to Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Behavioural Sleep Medicine Program, there is a big difference between relaxation and distraction, with television definitely falling into the latter category, especially when the shows are action pack or drama-filled. In a true relaxation state, your respiratory and heart rates should slow, your muscles should relax, and thoughts begin to quiet. This is definitely NOT the case while watching TV. Even more calming routines like reading should still be done out of bed.
3) Toss and Turn
Believe it or not, getting out of bed can, in the end, result in a better night’s sleep. If you are staring at the ceiling or counting sheep without the desired outcome, get out of bed and do something calming – be it meditation, a bit of reading, a cup of chamomile tea…anything to relax. Return to bed when you feel tired and ready to hit up Dreamland. Lying there letting your mind run wild and staring at the clock will only increase anxiety levels and make you deviate from sleep.
If you nix the naps, evidence shows you will rest better at night. If you absolutely must sleep while the sun is still in the sky, keep the naps to 20 minutes or less and aim to nap in the earlier part of the day to allow yourself that tired, ready-for-bed feeling at night. You can also overcome that 3 pm brick wall feeling by going on a short walk, drinking a glass of ice water, or enjoying a phone call with a friend. Be sure to avoid caffeinated beverages in the afternoon as well.
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According to the Harvard University Division of Sleep Medicine, doing anything but sleeping in bed weakens the mental association between your bedroom and sleep. The sad truth, however, is that 80% of young professionals are known to work from their beds, and in turn teach their brains that the bedroom is for things other than sleeping or intimacy.
Although many of us crave the thought of a thick duvet and a warm bed at night, these things won’t necessarily help you sleep. In general, the optimal temperature for sleeping soundly is in the range of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16-19 degrees Celcius). If your thermostat meets this appropriate range and you still find yourself sweating, try making your bed with two separate sheet sets so you can moderate your own temperature without waking or disturbing your partner in the process.
We all know how tempting it is to hit that Snooze button when the alarm first goes off…first once, and then twice. However, hitting the Snooze button likely does more harm than good by disrupting vital rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep. In REM sleep, we have entered the sleep stage with the most brain activity, and the biggest brain benefits…this is not something you want to sell yourself short on. Instead, set the alarm a bit later and skip the Snooze button.
8) Snuggle with a Pet
Your puppy or cat might make a great cuddle buddy, but limit this to the couch. By allowing your pet in bed with you, you are opening the night up to several sleep disturbances between the kicking, barking, purring, and squirming. You’ll also be exposing yourself and the sheets surrounding you to animal dander which could easily trigger sleep-disrupting allergies.
Snoring is brought on by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a cessation or partial obstruction of airflow to your lungs brought on by airway muscle relaxation while asleep. Snoring will not only cause you to wake up multiple times throughout the night but will also wake your partner and make for a poor night’s sleep and hostile feelings for both of you. Dream Sleep Respiratory is here to help! Ask your Doctor to refer you to us for a free sleep study if you are known to snore. We offer the latest in technology and have the best CPAP machines and CPAP masks and interfaces on the market at competitive prices. Contact us today if you want to know more!