Tips to Prepare for Bed
There are many causes for the sleep deprivation that we as a culture are experiencing. Snoring and sleep apnea are leading causes, but so too are insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and our own, busy lifestyles that are causing us to drag during the day. Regular lack of enough sleep is causing daytime drowsiness and the symptoms associated with it—memory loss, fatigue, lack of concentration, poor job performance, drowsy driving, and depression. Recent studies have also confirmed that too little sleep can cause weight gain or obesity because of a hormone that is secreted when we are fatigued.
During the Fox News interview, Dr. Volpi provided tips on what you can do when preparing for bed. Here is an expanded list of tips that will help you wind down properly and provide the appropriate setting in your bedroom so you can quickly fall asleep and have a restful, uninterrupted night. We suggest that if falling asleep is an issue, you print this out and have it handy at bedtime.
Do the same, quiet thing every night for a few minutes before bed. Some suggestions include laying out your clothes for the next day, reading a few pages from a book or magazine (but not in the bed), having a cup of decaf tea, taking a warm bath, and maintain your same nightly hygiene routine. It will trigger in your mind that it’s time to wind down.
Keep the bedroom for the sleep. Do not watch TV, listen to loud music, work on the computer or check your blackberry in the bedroom. These devices can get your mind racing, making it harder to become calm and fall asleep, and may even wake you in the night.
Exercise regularly but not after the late afternoon. Even though exercise helps regulate your sleep, rigorous exercise causes endorphins in the body to circulate which can cause the effect of a stimulant.
Maintain a cool temperature in your bedroom. A cool but comfortable temperature is ideal for sleep. Too warm and you will be fitful, too cold however can be uncomfortable and disturb your sleep.
Stay away from caffeine at night. The effects of caffeine are different from person to person, and may last hours after your last cup of coffee. So make your last cup of coffee, regular tea or soda earlier in the day. In addition, avoid nicotine, which is also a stimulant, and other medications that may keep you awake.
Avoid drinks and medicines that make you drowsy. Alcohol and medicines that makes you drowsy may affect your sleep throughout the night, even if you think it may help you fall asleep initially. The effects will wear off in the middle of the night and you can wake with your mind racing.
Go to bed at the same time every night. And wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Try to keep to within 20 minutes of the same time each morning and night.
Do not nap during the day. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, a nap will do more harm than good. If you are truly fatigued during the day, try to only take a 20 minute nap as longer than that will keep you from falling asleep at the appropriate bedtime.
Remember, people need an average of 7-8 hours of restful sleep to fully take advantage of its restorative power and avoid daytime symptoms of fatigue. If a regular, peaceful routine incorporating the tips above doesn’t help you start sleeping peacefully throughout the night, contact your doctor. You may have a more serious cause of sleeplessness such as snoring, sleep apnea or chronic insomnia.
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