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mproving your sleep should be at the top of your to-do list. Sleep is critical to good health. Getting sleep is important not only to feeling good, but also in making good decisions, feeling happy and operating at peak performance.
What experts recommend to get a good night’s sleep
BY AVERY MANN | SPRY MAGAZINE
When your breathing stops or pauses while you’re sleeping, it may be sleep apnea. Blocked breathing passages can create issues causing sleep apnea. This has the potential to become a life-threatening sleep disorder. People suﬀering from sleep apnea may wake up feeling not rested, with a sore throat from snoring, as well as a headache and even chest pain. Another symptom is choking or gasping for breath while sleeping.
RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME
Also known as RLS, restless legs syndrome usually occurs at night when you’re trying to fall asleep. RLS also can be responsible for keeping you awake at night, seriously aﬀecting your sleep and your quality of life. About 5 million Americans suﬀer from moderate to severe RLS, according to the NINDS. Restless legs syndrome can make you feel as if your legs are uncomfortable with a creepy, crawling sensation. Movement can help relieve the sensations, making it diﬃ cult to stay still and relax for sleep.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes deﬁnes narcolepsy as a “chronic disorder of the central nervous system characterized by the brain’s inability to control sleep-wake cycles.” If you suﬀer from this sleep disorder, you may experience excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as sudden loss of muscle tone and hallucinations as you’re falling asleep. Some people may experience sleep paralysis, a condition in which you can’t move at all while you’re falling asleep or waking.
Most adults have experienced some level of insomnia in their lifetime. It’s the most common sleep disorder. Also known as sleeplessness and wakefulness, insomnia can aﬀect your daily routine. It can cause you to feel cranky, sleepy and forgetful, and it can lead to a signiﬁcant lack of focus during waking hours. It can be caused by several factors including but not limited to stress, depression, aging, certain medications or even a bedroom setting that’s not relaxing.
About 25 percent of Americans report occasional sleeping problems, with chronic sleep issues aﬀecting about 10 percent of the population, states the National Institutes of Health. A sleep disorder is considered any issue with falling or staying asleep, unusual behavior during sleepy, or falling asleep unintentionally or at the wrong time.There are four main categories for these sleep disorders, according the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.Each of the four major sleep disorders can be treated. If you suspect you may be suﬀering from a sleep disorder, see your doctor. Keep track of the various instances and write the information down so you can tell your doctor exactly what’s been occurring to disrupt your sleep.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do about sleep problems. Stanford University’s Dr. William C. Dement, professor of the renowned Stanford Sleep and Dreams course and founder of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford University, recommends the following:
Maintain a regular and predictable sleep schedule.
Get at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. It sets your circadian rhythm for sleep cycles.
Use your bed only for sleeping.
Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine at least four hours before going to bed.
Don’t take naps too late in the day.
Don’t eat a big meal close to bedtime. A light snack is a good idea if you’re hungry.
Have a glass of milk. Dairy products contain tryptophan, a natural sleep chemical.
Make your bedroom quiet, dark and cozy. Try sleep masks, blackout shades and earplugs to reduce outside stimulation.
Relax in a hot bath. The subsequent drop in body temperature can cause drowsiness.
Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy to reduce associating bed with being awake.
If you can’t fall asleep quickly, get up and do something boring until you’re sleepy.
Take it to the next level
Sleep deficiency is a serious matterand leads to illness, weight gain and depression. If you have attempted these tips and still feel sleep-deprived, do something about it. Your doctorcan help you take the next step in improving your night’s rest. You may need medication or a trip to the sleepclinic to monitor your sleep patterns.
Sleep-improving suggestionsDo I have a sleep disorder?