Tossing and turning.Staring at the clock for hours. Thoughts about the next day and everything that needs done races through my mind. These thoughts turn to anxiety over not getting enough sleep tonight, which keeps me up even longer. Exhausted I finally slip in and out of sleep, but the morning sun comes sooner than expected bringing a new day full of challenges and stresses.
I have spent more nights like this in my life than I care to remember. I battled insomnia from late childhood into my early adult years. I know many others have suffered from this condition and I want to do what I canto help. Most of us know that lack of quality sleep can lead to irritability,but it can also cause heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and mental health issues. I consider a healthy night's sleep one of my highest priorities and, through years of personal experience, trial and error and research, I believe I can help many others do the same.
There are many habits, rituals, tips and tricks that can help improve sleep health.
* Relaxing Bedtime Ritual: breathing exercises, guided imagery, turning off electronics
* Bedroom Environment: quality mattress, low lighting or asleep mask, a sound machine or ear plugs and cooler room temperatures (62-67 degrees plus lighter blankets/sheets)
* Daytime Habits: regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and heavy meals late in the day, consistent sleep schedule 7 days/week
* Creative ideas: self-proclaimed sleep expert Tim Ferriss recommends Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea, a 2:1 mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey or California Poppy Extract
* Medications: whether it is a natural remedy like melatonin or a prescription medication, your medical doctor should always be consulted when considering medicated sleep aids
* Finally, if you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired instead of continuing to stay in bed
I challenge anyone reading this article to make at least one change in an attempt to improve your sleep health. Studies have shown that over 25% of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. I hope that writing about my personal struggle can make a small difference. Personally, I follow many of the tips above to create a relaxing and consistent routine and environment. The one thing that has helped me the most in improving my sleep health is listening to 10 minutes of meditation on the Calm app every night. I have overcome most of my insomnia issues and, using these tips, now have a goal of achieving seven hours of sleep every single night. Although we spend 30% or more of our life sleeping, I do not think we put enough of an emphasis on ensuring we get a quality night's sleep. Please join me in making a commitment to this important part of our overall health!
Cheers to dental health,
Dr. Cliff Moore