Determine if you have a sleep issue
1. Are you tired all the time?
2. Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
3. Do you snore loudly or wake up gasping, especially if you are overweight?
4. Do you have depression or anxiety that is disturbing your sleep quality?
5. Are you on a new medication that could be disrupting your sleep?
All of these are things to discuss with your physician. You may need a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea.
How do you know how much sleep you need?
1. Record the time you go to bed and the time you get up for a few nights or use a tracking device like a Fitbit or Zeo.
2. If you are NOT waking up before the alarm goes off, add 15 minutes.
3. If you are waking up consistently before the alarm goes off, subtract 15 minutes.
4. Do this until you are waking up about the same time as the alarm on a consistent basis. That is the amount of sleep that your body needs.
5. Get up when the alarms goes off. NO snooze button.
Some ways to promote quality sleep:
1. Be consistent with your bed time and wake up time even on your non work days.
2. Avoid aerobic exercise at least two hours before bed time.
3. Keep the bedroom for bedroom activities—NO electronics.
4. Have a comfortable environment—temperature between 60-75 degrees, a comfortable mattress (less than 10 years old), use a fan for background hum, darkened room.
5. Drink chamomile tea or warm milk about 30 minutes before bed.
6. Take a hot shower or bath. Epsom salts relax muscles.
7. Avoid caffeine after 3 PM.
8. Avoid naps longer than 10-30 minutes during the day.
9. Listen to soothing music.
10. Have the scent of lavender in your room or with bath.
11. Keep pets off the bed.
If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, get out of bed and try reading or listening to music for 20-30 minutes. Staying in bed and tossing and turning only makes you more frustrated and less likely to fall asleep.
Sleep is very important at that is when your body repairs itself. A good night’s sleep improves your attitude, judgment and productivity. It also reduces your risk of obesity and diabetes. We have all heard that a healthy diet and exercise is the key to weight loss. Research results now add quality sleep as the third important ingredient.
This post is intended to provide you with information to better understand your overall health. Always consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis. Dr. Shalona McFarland is available for you at 970-256-7454.