Got Sleep?

Many sleep problems such as insomnia, Circadian Rhythm sleep disorders (sleep phase disorders, shift work disorder, jet lag disorder,) insufficient sleep syndrome, etc.; can be successfully managed by making changes to the habits that affect your sleep.

In the daytime, it is ideal that one maintains a consistent wake time.  Avoid napping unless you are exhausted.  If you have to nap, keep it to 30 minutes or less.  Get some moderate exercise during the day and avoid exercising in the evening.  Get sunlight for at least 15 minutes to help set your circadian clock, this works best at sunrise.

There are more behaviors to be aware of during evening and night times, but these lists are important in order to improve your sleep hygiene.

In the Evening:

1) Avoid caffeine, chocolate, nicotine and other stimulants.

2) Limit alcohol.

3) Avoid heavy meals.

4) Turn off unneeded lights, help set your brain's circadian clock.

5) Start cooling the home temperature and yourslef (a cool drink.)

6) Limit stress. Think about stressful components the next day or earlier in the day, not at sleep time.

7) Avoid bright television and computer screens for 1 hour before sleep.

8) Get a pre-sleep routine, and do it every night. This will tell your brain that sleep time is coming.

At Night time:

1) Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

2) Use ear plugs if needed.

3) Get dark window shades if needed or wear a slumber mask.

4) Play a sound machine if it helps, but do so every night.

5) Keep a consistent sleep time. 

6) Avoid sleep medications unless absolutely necessary.

7) Use the bedroom only for sleep, relaxing or pleasant activities. Don't stay in bed if you are unable to fall asleep. Get up and do a boring activity until you are sleepy.

8) Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Not getting enough sleep can cause daytime sleepiness and can be extremely dangerous.  Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if you are sleepy.  Instead, pull over to a safe place and call a friend or family member for help or take a nap.  If you are too sleepy to work, let your supervisor know. A nap or break is better.

If you feel like you cannot improve your sleep hygiene on your own, you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a common condition that occurs when throat muscles relax.  You could be a candidate for CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), oral appliances, or surgery.  Contact our office, and let Dr. Lano, Board-Certified in Sleep Medicine, discuss options that may be available to you. 



Charles F Lano, JR., MD Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Sleep Medicine Specialist, Fellow in Allergy

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