Monday Medical: Tips for the sleep-deprived
Sleep. It’s something we all need.
A good night’s rest leaves you refreshed and ready to face the day. A poor night’s rest has the opposite effect, causing you to be tired, unable to concentrate and, likely, a little irritable.
Bill Moore, director of respiratory therapy at Yampa Valley Medical Center, offers a few tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
• Establish a bedtime routine. Parents often use the 3 Bs with children — bath, book, bed. By creating a relaxing routine in a quiet environment, both children and adults begin to ready themselves for sound sleep. Meditation before bed can help you decompress from the day’s activities.
• Avoid devices with screens and bright lights. Televisions, computers, tables, smart phones and other such devices continually stimulate the brain due to the particular type of light emanating from their screens. Spend the last hour before bed engaged in a calming activity, such as reading.
• Make your bedroom a good place to sleep. Use blackout curtains to keep early morning sun out. Choose a mattress and pillows that support your sleep preferences (back sleeper, side sleeper, etc.) Use a white noise machine or ear plugs to block out unwanted noises. Set your thermostat to around 65 degrees for sleeping. Your body sleeps better in a cooler environment.
• Exercise your way to better sleep. We know exercise is a key component to a healthy life. However, exercising too close to bedtime can make it difficult for your body to relax. Schedule exercise into your day as you would other appointments. By exerting yourself, you’re giving your body a need to recover during sleep.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol and eating too close to bedtime. They can all disrupt sleep. Avoid these at least two to three hours before bedtime. If you’re hungry before bed, try a light snack, such as a glass of warm milk, 45 minutes before retiring.
If you find yourself excessively tired during the day, unable to focus on your work or feeling depressed or anxious, talk with your primary care provider to determine if a sleep study referral is right for you.
An overnight sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram, is a procedure used to monitor certain body functions as you sleep, or try to sleep. These may include brain waves, heart rate, leg movements and breathing, among others.
At Yampa Valley Medical Center, sleep studies can be performed in the Sleep Study Center or at home with the use of a special sleep study device.
To learn about these services or for more details about the sleep study program, call 970-871-2342. A physician referral is necessary before a sleep study can be completed.
A good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be a dream. Give these tips a try, or talk to your doctor about next steps.
Lindsey Reznicek is outreach specialist at Yampa Valley Medical Center.
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