Are you tired of tossing and turning throughout the night? Do you often wake up feeling sleepy or even grumpy? Sounds like we might be talking about the seven dwarfs right? No, but you might be feeling like a couple of them after a few sleepless nights. If you are tired of being tired in the morning and ready for better sleep, then this article might be just what you need. Your co-workers and the people you live with just will thank you for it.

Restless nights actually become more frequent as we age and you will notice your sleep patterns will change as well. Often, due to changes in how the body regulates the circadian rhythms (our body’s internal clock), it can be harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Women will notice the change when they experience symptoms of menopause, when hot flashes and night sweats wake them. Later in life and especially in the elderly, there is a decrease in the number of nighttime hours slept which explains the need for frequent naps.

It’s probably safe to say most of us have trouble sleeping once in a while. Added stress, a recent change in a job or relationship, and possibly a move can impact your sleep. Environmental factors can also keep you from getting quality zzz’s especially if your room is too bright, too hot, too cold or too noisy. Oh, and you can’t forget that darn bladder. Drinking too much before bed will definitely cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. An American study of 8,937 people estimated that about one third of adults will wake up in the middle of the night at least three times a week. So in all reality, waking up during the night is pretty common and can increase if you suffer from anxiety, low thyroid, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. So before you turn to sleeping pills or to your doctor, here are some tips to try for better sleep.

(1) Exercise regularly

Doing some form of physical activity on a regular basis (3-4 times/week) will not only help you stay trim, but it will also keep you from waking up so much at night. Studies have shown that exercise enhances the effect of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone in the body. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re working out at the best time. Working out late at night could possibly be stimulating and keep you awake at night. On the other hand, morning workouts help the natural circadian rhythm when you are exposed to bright daylight.

(2) No electronics at bedtime

It’s important to keep your bedroom and office separate. Don’t answer emails or phone calls and you will also want to refrain from watching TV before bed. You don’t want your bed to stimulate wakefulness- it should stimulate sleep. So next time you reach for you phone, I-Pad or TV remote, remember the bed is for sleep and sex. Once you have that down, a good night’s rest shouldn’t be hard to achieve.

(3) Develop a sleep routine

Starting some kind of sleep routine can help you fall asleep. Just like when you were little, if your mom read to you or you took a bath before bed, this routine or ritual helped signal the body and mind it’s almost time for sleep. You can also try to meditate, listen to music, or drink a glass of warm milk before bed to calm your mind and body. Whatever you decide to do, you will want to try to stick to your routine every night.

(4) Keep your room comfortable

Your sleep environment is equally important as your sleep routine. Once you are ready for bed, it’s important that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Ideally you don’t want to have any lights on and you shouldn’t be able to see your hand. You will want to make sure your room is as comfortable as possible in order to promote sleep onset.

(5) Eat a small snack

You can eat before bed but make sure you don’t overeat or eat too close to bedtime. This will prevent a grumbly stomach or an over full belly. Choosing to eat a small healthy snack two to three hours before bed should hold you over until breakfast. If you do eat something right before bed, make sure it’s healthy like a few whole-wheat crackers, some almonds or cottage cheese. 

(6) Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bed

Wine or chocolate should not be a part of your bedtime snack or routine. Since Chocolate consists of caffeine, and caffeine is a stimulate, you’ll want to avoid it at night. Alcohol has a similar effect even though it makes you a little drowsy at first. It is also a stimulant and can disrupt your sleep throughout the night. It is also a good idea to stay away from acidic foods, such as juices, citrus fruits, or anything spicy. Acidic foods can cause heartburn which leads to a restless night.

(7) Take time to de-stress

Worrying about your bills, work or your mile ling to-do list? It’s important to realize the stress from the day can surface at night. Stress activates the fight or flight response that will keep you from sleeping. Make sure you take time in the evening to de-stress; whether it’s deep breathing exercises, taking a bath or doing some other form of relaxation technique. Learning to incorporate some way to de-stress before bed will promote good sleep. This will also help with any daytime anxiety you may be experiencing. 

(8) Get help 

Three common sleep disrupters are restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The symptoms of these sleep disrupters include an intense urge to move your legs, snoring, and painful burning in your throat, chest or stomach. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms and they are keeping you from getting quality sleep, you’ll want to get help from a sleep professional. 

Get better sleep-contact Just Breathe DDS in Coeur d’Alene

At Just Breathe DDS, we not only treat the symptoms associated with snoring, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, GERD & other sleep breathing disorders. We also do our best to treat some of the possible root causes of the conditions you are suffering from. Our treatment is a short-term process, generally one year, with results that last a lifetime. For more information regarding our sleep treatment or to set up a free patient education meeting, please give us a call at (208) 500-3030. Get better sleep by calling Just Breathe DDS today! You won’t have excuses to be sleepy or grumpy anymore!

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830306/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24235903/