March 13th - 19th is Sleep Awareness Week!
Sleep Awareness Week, 2022, begins right at the start of Daylight Saving Time, when a lot of us might be feeling more tired than usual. The transition between DST and Standard Time is characterized by more morning darkness and evening light. This can essentially “delay” your sleep-wake cycle, making you feel tired in the morning and alert in the evening. The change to Daylight Saving Time reminds us to make beneficial changes in our sleep routines to improve our sleep health.
When you aren’t sleeping well, you aren’t your best. A bad night of sleep leaves you with that head-in-the-clouds feeling the next day—fatigued, unfocused, and forgetful—along with other undesirable effects. According to National Sleep Foundation’s 2022 Sleep in America® Poll, a lot of Americans can do more to help keep their precious bedtime hours safe from tossing, turning, and waking up too often.
Fortunately, there’s hope for the restless because there are actionable steps you can take to set up an ideal environment for sleep and improve your nighttime routine.
Use these tips to get a better night of sleep—so you can spring out of bed in the AM feeling like your Best Slept Self:
Fine-Tune Your Sleep Routine
Consistent dinner times can be an important cue for your natural sleep-wake cycle. Meals eaten too close to bedtime can negatively affect your ability to go to sleep. Eating a light dinner 3 hours or more before bedtime is ideal so that your food can be fully digested- but a small protein snack can promote sleep. Try to avoid heavy meals, as well as alcohol, at night—both of which can disrupt your sleep. Gentle stretching or meditation can also reinforce signals that it’s time to fall asleep.
Follow a Sleep Schedule
Going to bed or waking up at the same time every day of the week helps your ability to fall asleep when you want to. Also, a regular schedule helps to sync your circadian rhythm, which dictates when you feel sleepy or awake. Most adults should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Keep your sleep schedule consistent by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekends!
Lights Out & Environment for Sleep
As you continue to wind down in the evening, dim the lights. Dim light at night helps regulate the circadian rhythm. Blackout curtains and blinds are even better because they eliminate light pollution and remove outside light, creating a dark environment that’s primed for sleep. A dark, cool bedroom that is free of distractions is the ideal place to get a good night of sleep. Find a comfortable pillow that will help support your neck and back throughout the night. And look for mattresses and pillows that support your spine. If you’re a hot- or cold-sleeper, find bedding that’s designed to help maintain your ideal temperature. Keep the room temperature cool, between 60 to 67 degrees.
Minimize Screen Time
There’s a good reason why your brain still feels wide awake when you’re scrolling at 2 AM. Electronic devices emit blue light and prevent the natural production of melatonin—the chemical that tells your brain that it’s time to sleep. Ideally, your bedroom should be free from televisions, tablets, phones, and laptops. If it’s not possible to remove blue-light emitting electronics from the bedroom completely, simply turn them off and stop using them at least an hour before you go to bed. If you like to read before bed, try switching out your tablet or phone for a real book. It’s a simple tweak, and you’ll notice how much faster you will drift off to sleep.
A good night’s sleep is critical to your mental and physical health. Our sleep specialists and sleep center team will work with you to comprehensively diagnosis and treat your sleep disorder so you can get the quality sleep that you need.
As ENT physicians, we are uniquely qualified to evaluate the entire upper airway and to offer a full array of surgical and non-surgical treatment options. If you suffer from snoring or sleep disorders, contact one of our offices to make your appointment today. You'll be on your way to a better night's sleep.
What is sleep apnea? Try conducting a sleep study quiz on yourself; take a look at the list below, and see how many of the statements apply to you:
- I snore.
- I wake up tired.
- I wake up gasping.
- I wake up with a sore throat.
- I frequently wake up to use the bathroom
- It is hard for me to stay awake while driving.
- I have fallen asleep while laughing or crying.
- I wake up with pain and numbness in my legs.
- I have difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.
- I have been told that I stop breathing while I sleep.
If two or more of the statements above apply to you, this may indicate a serious sleep disorder. Please consult your physician today regarding a diagnostic sleep study. Our New Jersey and New York ENT doctors will help you find the sleep apnea treatment that works for you.
To learn more about how ENT and Allergy Associates can help you and all your Sleep needs, click here.