Updated: May 12
It’s something that can’t be bought or sold, but it’s worth its weight in gold. The answer to this riddle? A good night’s sleep.
The key to a good rest for millions of Americans with sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP machine, but what about those who have trouble getting to sleep in the first place?
Sometimes it can be a real challenge to settle down and get in the sleeping frame of mind. Work-related stress, family time, errands, and Netflix binges can all compete with the sandman to keep you awake.
The good news is that you can change your pre-bed routine at any time to begin resetting your inner sleep rhythms. If you are ready to start on a path of good sleep hygiene, the clinical care team here at Nationwide Medical shared their best tips to help you fall asleep easier.
Start a pre-bed routine that helps you relax, such as meditating, reading a book, or taking a warm bath.
Keep a regular schedule – this means getting up and going to bed at the same time (yes, even on weekends) and planning things such as meals and activities to occur at relatively the same time each day.
Avoid naps if possible; but if you do need some extra z’s, never sleep longer than one hour and don’t nap after 3 p.m.
Develop the frame of mind that your bedroom is for sleeping only. If you want to read, watch TV, browse the Internet on your smartphone, etc., go into another room.
Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. People tend to sleep better in these conditions.
Avoid strenuous exercise/activity starting at six hours before bedtime.
Don’t go to bed hungry, but avoid large meals right before you hit the hay.
Steer clear of beer, wine, and other spirits six hours before you go to bed.
If you are a worrier, set aside time for mulling over your thoughts before you retire for the evening. This is a big-time culprit in delaying sleep for many people.
Don’t smoke or use nicotine right before bedtime.
Drink only non-caffeinated beverages after lunch.
Use sleeping pills sparingly (or not at all). Follow your doctor’s instructions and don’t use pills for longer periods than what is prescribed.
Don’t lay in bed for hours when you can’t sleep. If more than 20 minutes pass and you still aren’t asleep, you should get up, get out of bed, and go into another room to do something relaxing.
If you don’t feel sleepy, don’t go to bed. Once you start a good, relaxing pre-bed routine, you will recognize when your mind and body are ready for sleep. Even if your set bedtime comes and goes, don’t try to sleep unless you know you are ready.
If you follow these pre-bedtime tips and still aren’t feeling rested and refreshed, it is time to call your physician. Don’t ignore your exhausted feeling or brush it off – there could an undiagnosed medical condition that is keeping you from feeling (and functioning at) your best.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Foundation, up to 22 million Americans could have sleep apnea, and 80 percent of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed. We work with thousands of new sleep apnea patients each year, and they are amazed at the positive difference in their mental and physical states when they finally get properly diagnosed and start CPAP therapy.
Whether it’s following these 14 pre-bedtime tips or visiting your physician, it’s important for you to take action now to ensure you are getting the nighttime rest your body needs.
Nationwide Medical Inc. is the leader in sleep apnea support and CPAP/BiLevel machines and supplies. We have more than a decade of experience serving 100,000 patients with 24/7 clinical support. You can reach us at www.nationwidemedical.com or call 1-877-307-2727 (CPAP).
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