Sleep Hygiene

Just like having good dental hygiene is necessary to maintain optimal health of your teeth and gums, adopting good “sleep hygiene” behaviors can help you increase the chance of a healthy, restful night’s sleep. Here are some suggestions on how you can enhance your nightly sleeping patterns and wake up feeling rested:

  • Reading a book can get you into a more relaxed state before drifting off.
  • Leaving the TV on can encourage you to stay awake, which can ultimately lead to poor quality sleep. It’s best to just turn it off an hour before bed.
  • The light emanating from digital devices such as smartphones and iPads can have an effect on the production of melatonin in the brain, tricking it into thinking it’s still daytime. Try turning off these devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol right before sleep. Alcoholic beverages can prevent a continuous REM sleep. Also, avoid beverages containing caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  • Turn off all the lights and try to make your sleeping quarters as dark as possible.
  • Avoid sedative sleep aids.
  • Avoid sleeping in a prone position.
  • If you are overweight, weight loss may help you attain a healthier night’s sleep.
  • Exercise can help burn energy and prepare your body for sleep.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise right before bed.
  • Meditation or yoga before bed can help you relax the mind.
  • Stretching right before you go to sleep can help relax the body.
  • A lighter and/or earlier dinner can reduce the chance that you’re hitting the feathers with a full stomach that makes lying down very uncomfortable.
  • A warm shower can help you relax your muscles before bed.
  • Naps during the day may prevent you from getting a full, deep sleep once bedtime rolls around.
  • Set your alarm for the time you need to actually get out of bed instead of a time built for hitting the snooze button. Snoozing can fragment your sleep and lead to fatigue during waking hours.

There are also behavioral therapy that can lessen sleep apnea:

  • Stop smoking! The effects of smoke on the lungs and throat can also worsen your sleep apnea.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol. It can worsen snoring and increases relaxed muscle tone in the throat.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages three hours prior to bedtime.
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Sleep deprivation can cause heavy snoring.
  • Using pillows or raising the head of the bed to elevate the head works to help some apnea patients breathe easier during sleep
  • Using tennis balls or shark fin pillow to eliminate back sleeping can be a major help in patients with positional apnea.
  • Sleep on your side or stomach to avoid collapse of the airway
  • Try not to eat a heavy meal close to bedtime
  • Avoid or limit the use of sleeping pills and mood-altering drugs
  • Avoid the use of antihistamines at night
  • Limit intake of certain dairy foods before bed, as they can increase mucous production and encourage snoring
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Reduce allergens in your home, such as dust and dander
  • Sleep with windows closed
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom