Getting the proper amount of sleep plays a major role in our entire well-being. To ensure a good night’s sleep it’s important to develop good sleep hygiene.
The first step toward good sleep hygiene is establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times each day. For many of us with busy schedules, this may be difficult; however, reading a book or journaling before bed often helps to ‘unwind the mind’ and allow you to fall asleep faster.
It is also important to monitor what you eat and drink before bed. Avoid drinking a lot of fluid before bed, as this will likely cause you to have to get up several times during the night to use the restroom. Substances such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol act as stimulants, and can make sleep extremely difficult—these should also be avoided before sleep time.
Developing a consistent ‘bedtime’ routine can also help you stick to a consistent sleep schedule. In the hours before bed, start shutting off the TV, cellphones, and other electronics in the house and create a relaxing environment by doing things such as taking a shower or bath, and/or dimming the lights in the house.
If you are having difficulty getting into a healthy sleep routine, and/or experiencing excessive fatigue during the day, you may be suffering from an actual sleep disorder. It is important to discuss any signs of a sleep problem with your primary care physician, as you may be a candidate for a sleep study. The Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center and Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) are dedicated to detecting sleep disorders and providing exceptional care to patients suffering from sleep disorders throughout the community.
Christy Hall is the manager of Annie Penn Sleep Center and Respiratory Therapy and has been a respiratory therapist for twenty-four years. She is a graduate of California College of Health Sciences with a degree in respiratory therapy.