Good Sleep Practices
Your brain wants to have consistency; that’s just the way we are wired. If you make a bedtime schedule that you stick to, your body learns how to fall asleep on its own.
When you are creating a bedtime ritual or routine is important to consider a few points.
- Have a regular bedtime
- Set a consistent wake-up time
- Be aware of any stimulants or supplements you take
- No alcohol or cigarettes within 4 hours of bedtime
- Create routines to prepare for bed
- Be consistent
Once you have a regular routine set, your brain will be signaled when it’s time to go to bed. It will be in the process of shutting down and on its way to getting that restful and refreshing sleep.
You should plan on getting about seven hours of sleep each night. Oversleeping is counterproductive, even if it doesn’t feel that way. When you get up at the same time every day you create a routine that is easier for your body to follow than getting erratic amounts of sleep.
Much as we’d like to, we can’t make up for lost sleep by oversleeping the next day. It will just make you feel tired the next day. We are all different and will have different routines. You need to give yourself a little bit of time to find the one that works best for you and to begin to follow it.
Make sure that your bedroom is a place that is conducive to sleeping. It needs to be comfortable, relaxing, and "pitch dark". Don’t allow anything in your room that’s going to annoy you, such as a phone or animals. Don't watch TV or use electronic devices because they will interfere with melatonin production which is essential to falling asleep. If you have to use them, wear glasses that block the blue light.
Keeping the room between 65 and 70°; that is usually the best temperature for sleep. Having some ventilation and humidity in the room is great.
If there are distracting noises outside your bedroom that disturb your sleep, use earplugs. If you don’t want to use earplugs there are other ways of masking external sounds. There are machines that create white noise. They can be as simple as a box fan or a CD.
Your body’s internal clock depends on light and dark patterns. Keep your room "pitch dark". If you can’t make your room dark you can try wearing an eye mask to block out any light.
Having a clock by your bed might be a problem. If you must have the clock in your bedroom make sure it is turned away from you. Your bedroom is for sleeping - take the TV out and remove the computer, iPad, and phone.
Last but not least make sure that the clothing you are wearing is comfortable and not wrapping around you in the middle of the night
As you can see there is much you can do to help yourself get a great night’s sleep. However even with the best preparations you may still have sleep issues. Snoring and sleep apnea are epidemic in our society; over 40 million in the US alone have the condition. There are many causes of obstructive sleep apnea and many serious health consequences if it is not treated--even death.Dr. Donald Johnson is a specialist in treating snoring & obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is located in the Spokane, Coeur d’ Alene, and Post Falls, Idaho area. He truly understands OSA; he has treated snoring and OSA in hundreds of patients with an oral appliance.
What is Normal Sleep?
Getting a full and restful night’s sleep means:
- You are able to fall asleep almost effortlessly
- Sleep is not interrupted by waking up repeatedly
- You feel refreshed when waking up
Sleep cycles generally take about 90 minutes to complete, and each cycle is made up of five stages of sleep.
Stage 1: Light Sleep
- Feels like you are drifting in and out of sleep
- You may experience small muscle spasms or feel like you’re falling
Stage 2: Onset of Sleep
- Your breathing and heart rate slow
- Your body temperature drops
Stage 3: First Stage of Deep Sleep
- This is a short transition to Stage 4
Stage 4: Second Stage of Deep Sleep (90 minutes total)
- Your muscles relax
- Slow brain waves take over
- Tissue regrowth and repair occurs in this stage
Stage 5: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) (120 minutes total)
- Your brain becomes more active than when you are awake
- Your eyes dart back and forth rapidly
- Your muscles are inactive — your body becomes immobile, paralyzed
- Dreams become more intricate and memorable
- Immune system is repaired
- Brain cells discharge waste products including those that cause dementia
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
- Newborns (0-3 months) 14-17 Hours
- Infants (4-11 months) 12-15 Hours
- Toddlers (1-2) 11-14 Hours
- Pre-schoolers (3-5) 10-13 Hours
- School-aged Children (6-13) 9-11 Hours
- Teens (14-17) 8-10 Hours
- Young Adults (18-25) 7-9 Hours
- Adults (26+) 7-9 Hours