Improving Your Sleep
Now that you’ve treated your sleep apnea it may take some time to develop normal sleep patterns again. Everyone has problems sleeping from time to time, but years of poor quality sleep due to sleep apnea may take time to recover. The following suggestions may help. Read them thoroughly and decide which ones may be the most helpful and practical for you to try. Do the best you can but most importantly, don’t get stressed about it. Stress is probably the biggest contributor to difficulty in going to sleep or staying asleep – the more you worry about it, the worse it will get.
1. The room you sleep in should be used primarily for sleep. No TV or reading.
2. It should be dark, quiet and the right temperature.
3. There should not be a clock where you can see the time while you are lying in bed.
4. The bed should be comfortable.
1. The goal is to be relaxed and sleepy when you go to bed, not exhausted. Being overtired can also affect the quality of your sleep.
2. Keep a regular schedule. Most people need about 8 hours of sleep each night. This schedule should be kept every day of the week. Decide the time you need to get up and the time you need to go to bed. Stick to these times faithfully.
3. If you are hungry in the evening, have a light, healthy snack. No spicy foods.
4. Allow about 30 minutes to prepare for bed. Develop a routine that allows you to become relaxed and sleepy.
What we do during the day can affect our ability to become relaxed and sleepy at bedtime. Proper diet, exercise and stress management all affect our sleep as well as contribute to our overall health and well-being.
1. Avoid heavy meals within 4 hours of bedtime.
2. Exercise regularly. Best time is in the morning or early afternoon. No strenuous exercise within 4 hours of bedtime.
3. Within an hour of awakening in the morning, try to go outside without sunglasses to get about 20 minutes of direct sunlight. A light box may also be used.
4. Manage your stress.
5. Napping should be avoided. If you must nap, the length of time should be limited to 15-20 minutes at the very most. Just a “cat-nap” not a short sleep
6. Avoid caffeine, especially after noon. Limit morning coffee to 1 – 2 cups.
7. Tobacco, alcohol and street drugs all cause sleep disruption.
If You Can’t Sleep…
Perhaps you have followed the suggestions listed above and you are in bed, no sleep on the horizon. You have just gone to bed or you have woken up during the night and can’t get back to sleep. What to do?
1. If you have been lying awake for 20 to 30 minutes, get up. The time is flexible as you should not be watching the clock. Go to another room. Keep the lights low. Do something relaxing, maybe even boring. If you are going to read or quietly watch TV, make it something not too interesting. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.
2. Don’t get frustrated. Accept that you can’t sleep right now and trust that if you keep to these routines your natural rhythms will eventually learn to feel awake and sleepy at the right times.
3. Remember that not being able to sleep quickly when you want to is insomnia. Insomnia is annoying but does not damage your health.
Please call us and book your appointment.