By Dr. Michael Krychman, guest blogger.
The New Year always starts with high expectations including many resolutions and self-promises! Some of the top 10 new years’ resolutions include – to do more exercise, eating less, cut down on alcohol and spend more quality time with family and friends.
Perhaps the most important resolution and gift you can promise yourself is the commitment to improved sleep quality and quantity. Most people are unaware that they are not well rested, and too often function in a sleep deprived zombie state. Indeed there are far reaching medical and psychological implications from poor sleep! Memory, fatigue, poor job performance and immunodeficiency are only a few aspects that maybe affected. We will talk about the benefits of sleep in an upcoming blog — stay tuned.
How can we stack the deck in our favor so not break our 2017 resolution for a good nights’ sleep? Understanding and implementing some basic concepts around sleep hygiene or habits are a perfect start.
Here are some helpful hints to keep that commitment to sleep:
Practical Tips for a Wickedly Restful Slumber
- Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day. Even on the weekends- this helps your natural internal clock get used to your sleeping patterns. It is preferred to avoid daytime naps!
- Try to fit in regular exercise in the mornings to improve your sleep quality. Exercise will improve your heart health and also promote a restful night of uninterupted sleep. Stretching, walking, aerobic workouts or yoga each day, should be a part of your regular daily routine. Outdoor exercise, with some fresh air is also helpful!
- Create a sleeping santcuary: your bedroom should be a calm color, cool and quiet with minimal distractions. Empty it of electronics including televisions, laptops, ipads and phones. Black out shades are also a must! More on Feng Shui and Sleeping in an upcoming blog! Your bed should be an inviting place for comfortable sleep!
- Do not overuse sleep aids, prescription medications or over the counter anti histamines. These can be problematic with sleep patterns in the long term. Also plan to use your bed only for sleep and sex.
- Practice mindfulness and other relaxation rituals before going to sleep. Warm showers or baths, guided imagery, soothing restful music can be helpful to reset your mind to a calm quiet place.
- Avoid action loud television shows, reading overly stimulating materials or engage in electronics prior to heading to bed. These activities can over stimulate you and inhibit you from relaxing.
- Be mindful of your diet. Watch what you are drinking or eating in the early afternoon hours. Avoid excessive alcohol, or cafienated beverages in the early evening. These products can disrupt a good nights rest. Skip the dessert coffee, teas or chocolates, sodas and instead opt for some herbal chamomile tea. Never go to bed on a full or bloated stomach either.
- Do not take over-the-counter sleeping pills, without your health care professionals knowledge. Many people can develop tolerance to these medications, which can become a problem. Diphenhydramine is a common an ingredient found in over-the-counter sleep medications and can interact with your other precriptions and may have serious side effects especially for the over 65 crowd.