If you find yourself thinking you’re getting good sleep but you’re tired all the time, you might need to reevaluate your sleep hygiene routine and make some adjustments. Our bodies need sleep to recover and rejuvenate, and poor quality sleep makes everything in our daily lives more difficult. Puquoson, VA sleep apnea specialist Dr. William Harper has 5 tips for making sure you’re getting great sleep.
1. Limit Caffeine Intake After Lunch
If you’re already getting poor quality sleep, it’s hard to get through the day without an extra dose of caffeine. However, your afternoon coffee or energy drink habit might be making it even more difficult to sleep. The half-life of caffeine is between 4-5 hours, so if you drink coffee at 2pm, only half of it is gone by 6pm, and half of that is gone by 10pm. By the time you’re ready for bed, you still have 25% of your afternoon caffeine coursing through your body, making it harder to sleep. You might be surprised at how effective adequate hydration can be to make you feel more awake, so try replacing your afternoon caffeine with at least 16 ounces of water.
2. Address the Snoring Problem
Do you snore at night? Snoring and feeling tired throughout the day are two very common indicators of sleep apnea, and leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems. People suffering from untreated sleep apnea are at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. Getting high quality sleep can improve your overall health and wellbeing. Some people can stop snoring with nose strips, whereas some need a specialist to address airway support problems.
3. Get Moderate Exercise and Sunlight
Even a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood can improve your sleep quality and help you wake up feeling more refreshed. People who exercise to increase their heart rate a few days per week experience better sleep, more energy, a more positive outlook, and even better memory. Exercise can also help if you don’t feel tired enough at bedtime.
4. Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
A lot of us use our phones before bed to wind down, but studies have shown that the blue light coming from screens disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle. The brain can’t differentiate between the blue light from the phone and daylight, so looking into a screen makes the brain think it’s daytime, and not time to go to sleep. Avoiding screens like phones, tablets, and television an hour or two before bedtime helps your brain give your body the cue to go to sleep.
5. Create An Ideal Sleeping Environment
For optimal sleep quality, make the room cool, dark, and quiet. Some people like having white noise machines or fans, while others may need total silence. Blackout curtains help darken the room so that street lights, neighbors’ headlights, or an early sunrise don’t wake you up. Experiment with different setups to help you find the ideal balance so your body gets the restful sleep it needs to get you through the day.
Contact Coastal Virginia Sleep Solutions for a sleep screening if you can’t seem to get good quality sleep. Despite your best efforts, you might still deal with sleep apnea or another sleep disorder that needs treatment. Call us at (757) 600-0861 or schedule an appointment online today.