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RPT’s Healthy Habits – Sleep

Posted by Stephanie Taylor on 04/29/2020

The duration and quality of our sleep has direct impacts on our health. Numerous studies have shown that poor sleep is correlated with weight gain, disease risk, and decreased brain function.

Improved sleep reduces your risk of disease, improves memory and alertness, reduces stress and inflammation, reduces your risk of depression and anxiety, and helps your body heal better. Most experts recommend 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults. Read below to learn tips to improve your sleep quality.

Exercise

Exercise improves your alertness and energy levels during the day and also helps reduce the time to fall asleep at night. Exercise also reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, preventing those negative thoughts from keeping your up at night.

Light exposure

Our bodies use light exposure to help regulate our hormones and circadian rhythm, an internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle every 24 hours. Increase your exposure to bright lights during the day by going outside, opening windows, or turn on the lights when you are inside. At night, dim the lights and reduce the use of electronics to decrease your exposure to bright and blue lights.

Food and Drink

Avoid large meals right before bedtime to limit indigestion. Avoid caffeine for 6-8 hours before bed. And avoid alcohol before bed due to increased incidence of sleep apnea and disrupted sleep.

Bedtime Routine

Just like when we were kids, a consistent bedtime routine can help our body wind down and helps maintain our circadian rhythm. Our body has an easier time with activities if we have a predictable schedule.

Room Set Up

Make sure your room is set up to help you sleep. Limit noise exposure unless you like white noise from a fan or machine. Ensure that the room is dark (remember, circadian rhythm!). Make sure that your room is a clean, relaxing environment. When you sleep your body temperature lowers and setting the thermostats low (around 70) can assist your body in this process. Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable, and supportive.

Relaxing Activities

If you need help winding down at the end of the day, try listening to relaxing music, reading, taking a hot bath/shower, deep breathing, and meditation.

Consult your Doctor

If you have tried all of these methods, consult your doctor who may order a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

 

Be Well,

Stephanie Taylor, PT, DPT