I hope that you all slept well this week as we continue to try and catch up on Day Light savings time!
Cracking the sleep code isn’t easy. It takes consistency and analysis. If it was easy we’d probably never hear phrases like “I had a rough night” ever again. But, if we haven’t cracked the code yet, are we destined to remain a sleep-deprived population? Is there something we can do?
Well, significant leaps always start with small steps. So, if you want to improve your sleep and start building healthy habits that can last a lifetime, test out these 7 tips.
1. Electronic devices, and much of the inside lighting we use in our homes and offices, emit high-intensity blue light that gets misinterpreted as daylight. Your eyes send a message to your brain that the sun is still shining, even if it already set long ago. This is okay in the middle of the day when you are trying to stay alert, but it prevents melatonin production at night when you should be winding down for bed.
2. Like you, your internal clocks need time to adjust to Daylight Saving Time. Plan ahead, and start going to bed 10-15 min early. Your phone might update automatically, but your body takes a bit longer.
3. Help your body initiate sleep with a cooler room temperature.
Warmer? Colder? Somewhere In The Middle? Regardless of your temperature preferences, physiology and science both point to the ideal nighttime room temperature being around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). Your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep, so a cool room can give you a head start.
4. Avoid that late-night meal or snack. If you chow down on a late-night snack, it confuses your internal clocks. The one in your brain sees that the sun has set and is primed for sleep. However, the clocks in your digestive system kick into high gear, actively digesting at the very moment your other clocks are preparing for bed.
5. Pause the caffeine in the PM.
Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours. That means if you have a cup of coffee at 3pm, by 8pm, you’ll have only metabolized half of its caffeine — the other half is still in your system. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, avoid that PM caffeine boost. Keep in mind tthat soda, tea, and chocolate can also contain enough caffeine to disrupt sleep.
6. Avoid that nightcap — it may do more harm than good.
While a pre-bedtime drink may make you feel sleepy, your sleep quality takes a hit. Alcohol before bed disrupts your circadian rhythm, elevates your resting heart rate, and more. Try to give your body at least 3 hours before bed to metabolize the alcohol in your system. Hydrating works wonders, too.
7.Wind down with some tunes.
Listening to music can help your body wind down and engage your rest-and-digest system. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try making a “wind-down” playlist with some of your favorite relaxing songs. You can also relax with the meditation apps or “Calm” or anything where there is simply just very little sound and electronic stimulation.
If you need to rely on sleeping medication to fall asleep and cannot sleep with out it, or if you continue to wake up 4 or more nights per week and can’t fall back asleep then you need to set up a sleep consultation with Dr. Dave. I suffered through 5 years of sleep deprivation before I was finally able to improve my sleep. MD’s only prescribed sleep meds which would knock me out but would leave me groggy and unclear the rest of the day. Find out why I broke the code on sleeping and how I can help you do the same.
Consultation is 20 minutes and we will go heavily into what you do and you will have a game plan to improve your sleep patterns while slowly reducing your dependency on sleep medications.
For Your Sleep Consultation be sure to call 707-255-6888. We will have you complete a sleep questionnaire and Dr Dave will work to help resolve some of your most difficult sleeping situations.
“Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker