Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning, and wondering if you’ll ever fall asleep? If you require better sleep, it may be time to consider your sleep hygiene and how your habits may be preventing you from getting the quality sleep your mind and body need. Our Calgary dentists share tips for getting a better night's rest.
So, what exactly is sleep hygiene? Sleep hygiene simply refers to healthy sleep habits which play an essential role in optimizing health and well-being. Conversely, inadequate sleep can cause negative mental and physical side effects. Embracing sleep hygiene practices and having a relaxing bedtime routine can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.
Your behaviours and practices throughout the day play an important role in achieving a proper night’s rest. That’s what sleep hygiene is all about – building various healthy habits. Next, let’s breakdown some of Dr. Cheba’s healthy sleep habit recommendations.
Create a Sleep Schedule
Your body craves consistency. When you develop a proper sleep routine, your body’s system learns to prepare itself for the day ahead. It’s important to establish a regular sleep schedule every day of the week, ideally getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. It’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and when you sleep in, be sure it is not for more than an hour, even on your days off. It’s also crucial not to force yourself to sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bed and practice a calming routine like reading a book or meditating.
Eliminate Use of Electronic Devices Before Bed
Our phones have become our lifelines. They’re our source of news, alarm clocks, and our remote offices. It’s essential to ensure that you’re not staring at your phone or tablet for countless hours before bed. Electronic devices emit blue light, which can reduce the melatonin levels in your body. Melatonin is a chemical that controls your sleep and wake cycle, and when the levels dip, it can be more difficult to fall asleep.
No Late-Night Meals
Eating a late-night snack is not necessarily wrong but eating the wrong foods at a late hour can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Sticking to a regular dinner schedule and eliminating foods after 7 pm can train your body to know when it’s time to wind down. Instead of opting for a snack before bed, Dr. Cheba suggests drinking chamomile or peppermint tea. For years, herbal tea has been used as a natural remedy to treat insomnia. In fact, chamomile is commonly regarded as a ‘sleep inducer’.
Try a Sound Machine
Sound machines aren’t just for babies as they are proven to have long-term benefits. They promote healthy vibrations in your surroundings while improving the overall functionality of your brain. The soothing sounds emitted block distracting noises in your environment. White noise has been proven to rid people of psychological stress including anxiety and depression. It triggers a positive nervous system response and increases your body’s functions to feel relaxed and calm.
Brushing and Flossing Before Bed
Did you think we were going to get through this article without stressing the importance of proper oral hygiene? Incorporating an evening oral care routine makes your body realize a pattern that it’s time for bed. Not to mention, brushing before bed helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. But don’t just brush, floss!
Poor sleep hygiene affects not only your oral health but your overall systemic health. Less sleep contributes to stress and decreased metabolism and immunity. All of these factors can be contributors to cardiovascular issues or can become cancer-causing. If you’re struggling with a proper sleep routine, Dr. Cheba also suggests practicing yoga, meditation, or taking seminars on sleep hygiene to educate yourself. If the issues are continuously becoming worse, it may be beneficial to speak to your doctor or a psychiatrist.
Positive lifestyle changes and consistent sleep habits can significantly impact the quality of your sleep. Benefits of proper sleep hygiene include increased energy, metabolism, and productivity. And most importantly, it helps lower stress. If these factors sound appealing, perhaps it’s time to rethink your sleep schedule. Create a bedtime routine, a beneficial sleeping environment, avoid stimulants, and you could be counting sheep in no time.