Do you constantly toss and turn in bed? Are you always tired during the day no matter how much sleep you get? You might not be getting the restful sleep you need because you may have sleep apnea in Potomac. Read on to learn 9 tips for a better sleeping habit, and how to recognize if you have sleep apnea.
1. AVOID STIMULANTS
Stimulants are anything that can keep you awake. They include substances like:
Abstain from these chemicals for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Although alcohol may help you initially fall asleep, a few hours later it can cause you to wake during the night.
2. USE YOUR BEDROOM FOR SLEEP ONLY
Bright lights from your TV or phone can make it difficult to fall asleep, even if you’re watching something relaxing. Keep your bedroom quiet, calm, and cool, ideally between 60-70 degrees. Don’t do anything in your bedroom besides sleep. This will create an association in your mind between that room and sleep, and not anything else like work or TV.
3. RELAX BEFORE BED
For an hour or so before bed, don’t look at any screens. Instead, establish a relaxing pre-bedtime routine. Try taking a bath, reading a book, or doing mindful breathing exercises.
4. DON’T GO TO BED UNLESS YOU’RE TIRED
If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing like reading until you’re tired enough to sleep. Trying and failing to fall asleep for longer than 20 minutes can result in frustration and even more difficulty resting.
5. GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY
This includes weekends. Going to bed and waking up at around the same time every day gets the body into a routine.
6. LIMIT NAPS TO EARLY IN THE DAY
If you’re going to nap, try to keep it short and before 4 p.m. Napping after that will interfere with your ability to fall asleep that night.
7. DON’T EAT TOO MUCH BEFORE BED
Eating a large meal before bed can keep the stomach “awake,” thus keeping you awake. Dinner should be finished several hours before bed. If you’re hungry, stick to a light snack like warm milk.
8. DRINK WATER, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Drink enough water to keep you hydrated, but not so much that you’ll be waking throughout the night to use the restroom.
9. EXERCISE EARLY
Working out can help you fall asleep, but not for several hours. By regularly exercising before 2 p.m., you can get in the habit of restfully falling asleep.
WHAT IF THESE TIPS DON’T HELP?
If you’ve tried these tips and they don’t work, you may have sleep apnea. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Restless sleep
- Loud snoring
- Persistent daytime drowsiness
- Waking up at night gasping for air
- Waking up with a sore throat or headache
If any of this sounds familiar, see your dentist in Potomac right away. Untreated sleep apnea can have potentially life-threatening complications.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Sam Osseiran received a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry for his invention of an intraoral prosthesis treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. He has also earned a Mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry. If you think you may have sleep apnea, visit the doctor’s website or call (301)-979-7914.