The single most important thing you can do to optimize your health is to get good quality sleep. There are many research studies that now show poor quality sleep linked to many disease processes such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's and dementia to name a few. Our brain works so hard all day long that at night, this is the only time in which the brain gets to rest and recover. When we sleep, things slow down and become stable such as our blood pressure, blood sugars, and heart rate.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that American adults get between 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep for optimal health. We spend a third of our lives sleeping therefore good quality sleep should be a priority. There are many ways to help promote good quality sleep.
Follow the tips below to help optimize your sleep health.
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake time (even on the weekends). This helps to regulate your internal clock known as the circadian rhythm.
- Expose yourself to bright light in the morning and avoid it in the evening hours. This allows keeping your circadian rhythm aligned.
- Limit Caffeine 7 hours before bedtime. That late afternoon coffee you had can linger in your system for up to 7 hours making going to sleep more difficult.
- Avoid napping during the day as this can make falling asleep at night more difficult.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol is notorious for making us feel sleepy but actually disrupts your sleep architecture later in the night resulting in fragmented sleep.
- Keep your bedroom dark and cold. Keep your thermostat between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. When we cool down, we sleep sound. SleepSwag's handmade Sleep Mask is a wonderful accessory to help block out light for a better night’s sleep. I personally appreciate how the mask blocks out all light and is incredibly soft and comfortable to wear.
- Exercise daily as this helps to promote good sleep, preferably in the early morning or afternoon.
- Avoid all screens one hour before bedtime. Screens produce light which results in decreased production of our sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Create a relaxing environment for your bedroom. SleepSwag’s therapeutic aromatherapy and crystal mists help to create a soothing and calm environment in which to sleep in. Our family sprays the mist over our bedding as part of our bedtime ritual for a relaxing and calm environment.
- Invest in a quality mattress and pillow. Being comfortable when we sleep is very important.
- If you have consistent poor quality sleep, see a board-certified sleep medicine physician.
Navina Mehta, MD
Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Sleep Medicine
Instagram - @greenvillesleepdoc
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