Your routine during the day and before bedtime can have a big effect on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. High-quality, restful sleep is important to your overall health, especially if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Your behaviors throughout the day—what you eat and drink, your medications and vitamins and the level of consistency in your schedule can all significantly affect your sleep. Sometimes just a couple slight adjustments can be the difference between falling and staying sound asleep or tossing and turning the night away.

“Sleep Hygiene” refers to the healthy sleep habits that can increase your chances of falling asleep and staying asleep. Maintaining these habits can provide you with a foundation for better quality sleep which will contribute greatly to staying healthy and feeling rested. Many people have trouble sleeping, but as sufferers of sleep apnea know, snoring can make a good night’s rest seem impossible. Follow these suggestions to get your healthy sleep habits on track:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Get up and retire for the night at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Establish a bedtime that gives you at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Institute a relaxing pre-sleep routine.
  • Keep exposure to bright light in the evenings to a minimum.
  • Shut off all your electronic devices half an hour before your set bedtime.
  • Refrain from eating a large or heavy meal too close to bedtime. If you must eat late, opt for something healthy and light.
  • Incorporate exercise on a regular basis and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Stay away from caffeine at least 5 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medicine before bed. Sleeping pills can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms and alcohol can act as a stimulant once your body metabolizes it.
  • Don’t smoke. Nicotine relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open. If you quit smoking, those muscles are less likely to collapse at night and narrow your airways.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your stomach or back.
  • Raise the head of your bed by 4 inches by placing bricks or blocks under the legs of your bed. You can also try using a special pillow, called a cervical pillow that will keep your head in a position that reduces sleep apnea.
  • If you use a CPAP machine or have an oral device your dentist made you to help you breathe, use it every night. Your symptoms will return right away if you don’t use it all night, every night.

Following these healthy sleep tips can make the difference between restlessness and a night of peaceful slumber and help maximize the hours you spend sleeping. It’s vital to get plenty of sleep as apnea episodes tend to be more frequent when you don’t get enough sleep.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to see how we can help.