Having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or getting enough sleep, as mentioned in our January newsletter—is insomnia! This is a medical condition and off limits for a dentist to treat—but—an issue we see every day and can offer suggestions. Scientific studies tell us 30% of the population experiences occasional sleep difficulties and about 10% suffer insomnia.
The good news is, that in most cases, it is pretty easy to treat—you can do it yourself, or get the help of a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who can treat it in 5 or 6 sessions. The body likes to maintain status quo—good or bad—and insomnia is a bad habit, perpetuated by more bad habits a person uses in trying to remedy their insomnia. We are trying too hard to get sleep and that just makes everything worse!! – So—relax, and breath deep. Sounds a little like a yoga or meditation class—which can go a long way in training you how to slow the mind, control your thoughts, and breath more easily.
Below I have listed 10 basics for a better night’s sleep:
- Discontinue caffeine use 4 hours before bedtime
- If you smoke—don’t do it around bedtime or when you wake up at night
- Alcohol can help you get to sleep but messes with your quality of sleep—not good!
- Too much food at bedtime disrupts sleep
- No vigorous exercise 2 hours before bed
- Keep the bedroom calm and comfortable
- Keep the temperature cool
- Minimum noise and light—although intense bright light is great to wake you up in the morning!
- The bedroom is for sleep and sex—Not TV, cellphones, radio, or eating
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule—same bedtime and wakeup times