Have you written down a few (or maybe a long list of) Things to Do Differently in 2017? Although we all have good intentions, the truth is most people find it hard to keep their resolutions after the first few days or weeks. Maybe they made too many, or they weren’t very specific, or they weren’t realistic. We want to make 2017 the year of Sleep Resolution Success for our patients. We think just about everyone can be get better sleep with these three sleep resolution ideas.
Resolution #1: Reduce Electronics Before Bedtime
Electronics can disrupt sleep in a number of ways. They may bring stressful news stories to mind. Stimulating movies and television may mean you are too hyped up to sleep. Playing games and answering emails can lead to “just one more minute” before shutting off. Several recent studies indicate that the light wavelength of many electronics mimics daylight and throws the body’s sleep/wake clock out of adjustment. An electronic-free window that starts about 90 minutes before bedtime may help your sleep success.
Resolution #2: See Your Dentist About Sleep Apnea
If you fall asleep without issue, but do not sleep soundly, your dentist can perform a sleep apnea evaluation. Sleep apnea is a disturbance in breathing that causes missed breaths and frequent startling awake throughout the night. If Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) seems to be an issue, there are dental appliances that can relieve OSA, and lead to better sleep. Your dentist can also give you information on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and suggest changes in your bedtime routine. If someone else’s snoring causes you to lose sleep, there are options to help with snoring as well.
Resolution #3: Develop a Soothing Routine
Do you go full tilt all day and then hope sleep comes immediately when you finally lie down? Our bodies don’t usually work that way. You can help with difficulty in sleeping by forming a soothing bedtime routine. This might include:
- non-strenuous exercise (a short walk or stretching or yoga movements)
- turning off electronics (see Resolution #1!)
- taking a warm bath, or washing your face with warm water
- playing soothing music (perhaps the same song each night)
- using a pleasant scented lotion (lavender or vanilla)
- having a non-intense book or magazine at your bedside
- writing in a journal
- drinking a warm, non-caffeinated drink