Sleeping Like a Baby Can Work Wonders
Is there anything as delicious as a good night’s sleep? Nothing renews you like sleep. It even helps strengthen memories and can enhance your creativity.
Unfortunately, many people have trouble getting deep sleep—the kind that helps cement memories.
Now, researchers also think a lack of sleep may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In a small study, losing just one night’s sleep increased levels of a protein that’s linked with the disease. Those are some pretty good arguments for getting quality sleep, don’t you think? So, what can a person do differently to improve sleep quality?
Maybe start by keeping a sleep diary, tracking routines and sleep patterns. Here are more tips to help ensure one gets the best-quality sleep possible:
During the day
· Eat a healthful diet.
· Exercise most days of the week.
· Work worries? Relationship wrangles? Money troubles?
These can all affect sleep. These don’t always have a simple solution,
but folks can develop habits to nip stress in the bud. Practice yoga.
Take “breathers” throughout the day. Try progressive muscle relaxation.
Meditate. What else can people try?
· Limit naps to 20 minutes.
· Save thrillers or exciting television for daytime viewing, especially if it will rev up the emotions.
Late in the day
· Starting in late-afternoon, stay away from caffeine—whether in coffee, tea, or chocolate.
· Avoid eating large meals late in the day. To stave off any hunger, a light, healthy snack is okay.
· Turn off electronic devices at least a half-hour before bedtime.
· Create a relaxing routine. Soak in a bubble bath. Stretch. Read. Listen to soothing music. People usually know what works best for them.
Right before bedtime
· Avoid alcohol before bedtime. To prevent wakeful trips to the bathroom, drink fewer fluids right before heading off to bed.
· Keep a “worry journal.” Write down what’s on the mind, so it’s freed of thoughts that may keep a person up.
· Make the bedroom a sanctuary: Limit bright lights and loud sounds. Keep the room a comfortable, cool temperature. If people are particularly sensitive to distractions or room conditions, room-darkening shades, earplugs, or a fan might help.
· Keep a consistent sleep schedule that allows at least 7 hours of sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same times, even on weekends or during vacations.
· Wait to go to bed until one feels sleepy. Get out of bed if not asleep within 20 minutes.
If someone needs more help
They should see their doctor if sleep problems persist. Both medical and emotional issues may make it difficult to sleep well. They might even have a sleep disorder. Also, ask the doctor or your pharmacist about any medications, herbs, or supplements that could be affecting sleep.
If a sleep aid is required, the pharmacists at BETTERx can explain what you need to know about both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
1. National Institutes of Health: “Sleep On It.” Available at: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/04/sleep-it Accessed 6-1-18.
2. National Institutes of Health: “Lack of sleep may be linked to risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.” Available at: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/lack-sleep-may-be-linked-risk-factor-alzheimers-disease Accessed 6-1-18.
3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine: “Healthy Sleep Habits.” Available at: http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits Accessed 6-1-18.
4. Familydoctor.org: “Sleep Changes in Older Adults.” Available at: https://familydoctor.org/sleep-changes-in-older-adults/?adfree=true Accessed 6-1-18.
5. MedlinePlus: “Changing your sleep habits.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000757.htm Accessed 6-1-18.