April 18, 2020
With the COVID-19 outbreak on the front of everyone’s minds, it shouldn’t be any surprise that many people are having trouble getting the sleep they need. A lack of rest can weaken your immune system and lower the overall quality of your life, so if you’re trying to stay as healthy as possible, you need to give serious thought to how you can help your body wind down at night. Read on to learn 5 tips that can help your overcome your stress and sleep much more soundly.
1. Try to Relax Right Before Bed
Sometimes the problem may simply be the fact that there are too many stressful thoughts on your mind at bedtime. Consider researching meditation or other progressive relaxation techniques to get rid of these thoughts. Some people also find it helpful to make a mental list of things that they’re grateful for. That way, you’ll be focusing on positive things instead of more stressful topics that could inadvertently trigger your body’s fight or flight instincts.
2. Set a Specific Time to Go to Be Every Night
Your body will have a much easier time functioning normally if you go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up on a consistent schedule. That means you should avoid naps or oversleeping on weekends; disrupting your body’s natural rhythm will only make it more difficult to get the rest you need.
3. Turn Off Electronics Well in Advance
Electronic screens give off a special blue light that disrupts the body’s ability to make melatonin. This is an issue since melatonin is what helps the brain control the sleep cycle. Wearing glasses designed to block blue light can help, but it’s better to avoid screens for at least 90 minutes before bed.
4. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep. While it might seem that alcohol helps you doze off, it doesn’t make for a particularly restful night, and your hangover the next day will likely be very stressful. And of course, caffeine is the last thing you want to put in your body if you’ve been having trouble settling down. (A little caffeine is okay if taken before noon.)
5. Make Yourself Some Tea
A refreshing cup of tea could help you calm down at night and also helps keep you hydrated so that there’s less chance that you’ll wake up thirsty. Try preparing a cup about 30 minutes before you go to bed. Choose a caffeine-free tea such as peppermint, sage, or ginger.
Whether you’re already sick or are trying to protect yourself from illness, it’s important to pay attention to how much sleep you’re getting. Getting plenty of rest could be key to making it through these difficult and uncertain times.
About the Author
Dr. David B. Schwartz has been in practice as a dentist since 1992 and has become one of the nation’s foremost experts on dental sleep medicine, which involves the use of oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. His Skokie practice, Sleep Better Chicagoland, specializes in helping patients overcome their sleep disorders. If you want more advice on consistent rest or would like to schedule an appointment, you can get in touch with Dr. Schwartz through his website or by calling (847) 677-2808.
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