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Tips to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Oyster Point Dentistry Sleep Apnea Treatment in Newport News, VA

We see a lot of patients in the clinic with problems sleeping so we're going to give you some sleep tips, tips to get you to sleep better, and some general tips about sleep positioning.

There's a lot of people with insomnia which means you're not getting enough sleep. There's a couple different problems. It's really kind of two major problems we have when we're having trouble falling asleep and/or we're having trouble staying asleep. So there's multiple factors which makes this a complex issue.

The number one reason people do not sleep well is associated with muscle aches and pain. You are waking up (often times without even realizing it) because your back and/or your neck hurts and you're rolling on your shoulder. It is physical problems that are the number one reason why we're not getting good night's sleep. So if you have a physical problem, back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder problems, or anything like that give us a call.

Let’s consider general sleep problems versus physical problems. Number one is electronics. We are all into iPhones iPads and computers. We had a guy in recently with trouble sleeping. It turns out he leaves his I pad on and it alerts when he's getting email. He’s subconsciously hearing email alerts all night and of course it's waking him up multiple times. So the rule number one in getting a good night's sleep is turning electronics off an hour before bedtime. Turn phones off, iPads off, no TVs in the room an hour before bedtime. All that light, it's gets complicated, but the light stimulating hormones in the brain and keeps you awake. The body thinks there's some light out there and wants to be awakened.

Rule number two. We don't want to eat or drink anything an hour before bed as well. So if you were eating this midnight snack or drinking a big glass of water, then you got to get up and go to the bathroom. So it's no food or drinking at bedtime.

Your room environment is very important so a couple things in the general room for you to think about. A lot of us are sleeping way too warm whether it's in the summer or winter. If you set sleep temperatures at 72 or 70, then you're under the blankets. You are going reach 75 degrees in there as your body heat is trapped. There's a lot of different strategies but the best thing for most is to keep the room a little bit cooler, enough that you don’t need a thick blanket. Consider using something called the chill pad, a sleep aid that circulates water underneath you and it helps regulate your body temperature.

Now onto sleep positions. A lot of people don't know how to sleep. We never want to sleep on our stomach. There's just no good way to sleep on your stomach. It's going to put strain on the neck and it's hard to breathe properly. For women, some say that it gives you wrinkles quicker if you sleep on your stomach. True or not, that notion is out there. So that's why we consult our women patients to sleep on their back or sides.

I know a lot of people have trouble with snoring. If you're snoring a lot and your partner says you kind of stop breathing in the night you could have something called sleep apnea. This is where you're waking up continually and which is actually a very serious medical problem. So, if you have a severe snoring and your partner says that you interrupt breathing at all during sleep, you must, must, must get a sleep study conducted to evaluate you for sleep apnea.

One thing we recommend is one good pillow. The typical pillow that you find at the stores are probably not going to give you enough support. One of the pillows that we have here is this water-based pillow. Basically what you do is you fill up water level based on how big you are. You use just one pillow. A nice thing about the water pillow is that it's nice and heavy, doesn't slide around.

So, no food or drinking before bed time, no electronics at night before bedtime, try to go to bed a little earlier, no electronics, no food, nothing else an hour before bed. Once in a nice calming relaxing bedroom, get the temperature down. Most of us are sleeping way too warm. Get it to 72 degrees in there and sleep a little cooler. Sleep positions, be on your back or a side. Use one good pillow. If you have a bad lower back, a sleep pill is ok and use a pillow or two underneath the knees to elevate them so that you can take some pressure off the spine.

Come on in and we can delve into this a little bit more. Hopefully this helped you out a little bit. Check out our website or give us a call.