Complaints about poor sleep and insomnia come up multiple times a day. This isn’t surprising as the quality and duration of sleep is associated with a wide variety of ailments. Obstructive sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cardiovascular disease are just some of the examples.
The concept of “Sleep Hygiene” is therefore something that I talk a lot about. To me, good sleep hygiene is a set of habits that can contribute to better sleep quality and sleep initiation. In my experience, not all sleep problems can be solved by good sleep hygiene, but it is an important starting point.
So if you’re having sleep issues, try these changes:
- No caffeine after 12:00 PM - Depending on one’s metabolism, caffeine can stick around the bloodstream for a long time. Beware of popular energy drinks!
- Avoid stimulants (ex. soft drinks) and alcohol ~4 hours before bedtime
- Although regular exercise seems to promote better sleep, avoid exercising 4-5 hours before bedtime.
- Have a regular bedtime.
- No bright lights (laptops, tablets, phones, TV etc.) around 1 hour before bedtime. Go old school, read text from a physical book.
- No flashing LED lights in your room. Make your room as dark as possible. Lights from electronic devices and flashing electronic gizmos seem to suppress melatonin, a sleep promoting hormone.
As always, if you have more questions, feel free to talk to your Magenta Health family doctor. Finally, click here to read a lot more about sleep.