Statistically speaking, there is a good chance that you are not getting enough sleep. In fact, sleep disorders among Americans have become so common that the CDC has declared them a public health epidemic.
While those with severe disorders can find relief through medications, for most of us, the problem lies in our habits, bodies and sleep environment. Before you turn to medication to improve the quality of sleep, Your Family Clinic suggests the following methods to find a better night’s rest.
Switch Up Your Mattress and Sleep Environment
When did you last change your mattress? If it is several years old, it might no longer be supporting your body in the best, most comfortable way. There are plenty of great mattress options out there today. Start by figuring out what your preferred material and firmness are, as well as what type of sleeper you are.
You also want to make sure your room is a calming and relaxing place to go to sleep in. According to The Spruce, a relaxing bedroom will have a calming color scheme in mid-tone and pastel shades, house plants, soft lighting, pleasant smells, and be clutter-free.
Use Technology Smartly
You may have heard that using any sort of device before bed can negatively impact your sleep because of the blue light emitted by electronic screens. This has prompted many experts to recommend you stay away from your phone entirely in the lead up to bed.
While this is generally good advice, your phone can actually be a sleep enhancer. That’s because there are plenty of great apps these days designed to help you sleep. A few that are definitely worth trying out are:
Sleep Cycle - Tracks your movements during the night and calculates the optimal time to wake you up based on your sleep cycle.
Headspace - Provides hundreds of awesome guided meditations, including a whole section dedicated to helping you wind down for sleep.
SnoreLab - Records and tracks your snoring so you can pick up on patterns in your sleep.
Correct Sleep Apnea with CPAP or Dental Alignment
Oftentimes, inadequate sleep is a result of certain issues going on in the body. For example, anatomical obstructions, obesity and a misaligned jaw or crooked teeth are strong contributors to sleep apnea, which is a breathing disorder that inhibits quality sleep. For anatomical obstructions, many people find relief by using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night, while those with obesity can achieve better sleep through weight loss as well as a CPAP. A misaligned jaw or crooked teeth can also contribute to sleep issues in the form of sleep apnea if the jaw is obstructing the airway or if the teeth are overcrowded.
And while using a CPAP is an option for a misaligned jaw or crooked teeth, many people find more sustainable relief through orthodontic treatment. For minor misalignment issues, something as simple as a monitored at-home treatment like Byte can safely correct overcrowding quickly and effectively. Through HyperByte technology, this form of alignment therapy uses daily vibrational treatments to help shift the teeth in as few as five minutes a day. In more severe cases with the jaw and teeth, however, dental appliances and even surgery will be the most effective means of making alignment corrections.
Adopt a Comprehensive Practice of Healthy Habits
People tend to think of sleep as something separate from the rest of their life, but the truth is that all your healthy habits are interrelated. By creating a healthy, balanced routine in other areas of your life, you will also improve your quality of sleep.
Take exercise, for example. Among the many reasons why exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, it has also been shown to improve sleep. It’s important to note that this doesn’t happen in the short run (it’s not just that you wear yourself out and sleep better), but is a long-term change that happens gradually.
Your diet will also affect how well you sleep. A heavy meal just before bed can keep you up as you struggle to digest, so it’s best to eat light at dinner. In particular, avoid foods that are excessively fatty, spicy, or high in sugar. Don’t neglect gut health. A healthy gut can improve your digestion, immune system, and mood. Be sure to consume plenty of gut-healthy foods such as yogurt, pickles, wild salmon, onions, and garlic.
This article was written by Lin Buckner who is a freelance writer. We thank Jennifer for this work. The photograph was from Pexels.com. Again we are grateful.
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