Good morning! This week I thought I’d post a couple of simple sleep strategies each day. These strategies fall generally into the category of “sleep hygiene”, but also will contain elements of other behavioral sleep strategies. I took the liberty of injecting a chuckle or two…just to make sure you’re paying attention! And like I tell my patients, don’t shoot the messenger 🙂 Enjoy the week!
Caffeine (And Other Things We Consume)
I know, going right for Jugular on this post! But caffeine is in all sorts of stuff, not just coffee. Sodas, candy, even some medications can contain pretty high amounts of caffeine, and it can keep us alert a lot longer than we think. In fact, if it were discovered today, caffeine would probably require a prescription from your doctor. It’s usually no big deal when used in the morning, but if you’re having trouble getting to sleep it’s the last thing you need later in the day! And just to remove more fun from your life, smoking (stimulant/coughing), alcohol (knocks you out, then fragments last part of sleep), and junk food (indigestion, stomach pains, stimulant) are also bad for your sleep.
Experiment by reducing/adjusting these substances to see if they are affecting your sleep. If you’re trying to sleep better, it’s definitely the place to start! Caffeine can be slowly tapered down, but alcohol and nicotine reduction should be done under the supervision of your regular doctor. And there are lots of resources available for those wanting a better eating plan for themselves. It’s all good for sleep, and that’s very good for you!
So are you a late-latte type, or a morning-mocha type? Or both??
Exercise has been shown time and again to be one of the best things for sleep! If you’re a bit of a couch potato, check with your doctor about doing some exercise. One thing to remember though: even though some research has shown that exercise before bed does not seem to adversely affect sleep, if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try to leave at least a couple of hours to cool down before going to sleep. You might consider planning your exercise earlier in the day, or during the time of day when you sometimes find yourself getting a little sleepy in order to keep yourself from taking a long nap.
Starting the day with a bit of exercise gets people going for the day. Think of it as a way to amplify your Circadian Rhythm, the 24-25 hour natural sleep/wake rhythm we all have. Shutting down melatonin production at the end of the night, getting some light, and getting some exercise will all help to make that wave of sleepiness in the evening stronger!
Are you getting any regular exercise? Did you know it can really help your sleep?