We think fondly of it, we all want it—why is it so hard to find? We’re talking about sleep, of course. According to the Canadian Sleep Society, about 10% of the adult population in Canada experience persistent insomnia, while an additional 20-25% reports occasional insomnia symptoms.
Like water, a healthy diet, and breathing, sleep is essential to support every part of your health. Sleep is when our bodies rest, repair, and run a lot of self-maintenance. Studies show that not getting enough sleep can harm your memory, your heart health, your immune system, and make you gain excess weight.
Sometimes sleep loss is a real medical issue that needs to be treated by your primary care physician (Dr. Spagnuolo can help with sleep apnea). But if you’re just having trouble settling down and enjoying your sleep, here are some sleep tips that are easy to incorporate into your life…starting tonight!
Think of everything you do to set the right tone for a dinner party or even a study session—every event needs some preparation. You can do a lot of little things to immediately make your environment more conducive for sleeping:
When it comes to sleep, timing is everything. Yes, you need to find about 8 hours each night when you can actually close your eyes. But just as important is the hour you spend before going to bed, as well as the time you wake up. If you want to sleep better:
Doing this naturally guides your circadian rhythm—the important hormones that direct your body clock for sleeping and waking over 24 hours. This will teach your body to expect sleep at a certain time and to actually be ready for it.
Harness the power of psychology and classical conditioning. Remember Pavlov’s dogs? Use the same stimulus to remind your mind and body that it’s bedtime each night. For many children, even the first line of their bedtime song will trigger a yawn. You can trigger sleepiness for yourself by lighting the same candle, playing the same song, brushing and flossing your teeth, and putting your pajamas on in the same order each night.
There’s a lot to be learned about the power of herbs and aromatherapy when it comes to aiding a healthy lifestyle. Consider taking melatonin—a naturally occurring hormone that balances sleep; magnesium—a mineral that can calm your nerves and muscles; or valerian—an herb that helps you fall asleep faster and deeper. These are completely safe and natural supplements you can take regularly to help with sleep.
Similarly, using lavender, vetiver, or sandalwood oil can calm your body and induce better sleep. Try diffusing oil into the air or put drops on your pillow. Some supplements and methods will work better for you than others and they all do different things to the body, so talk with your doctor before taking any new herbs or supplements.
How you spend the hour before bed can do a lot to help you sleep better. Watching television or looking at any screen before bed can seriously hurt your chances of a good night’s rest. Instead, try reading something in actual paper and ink. It doesn’t have to be hard literature; even a magazine or light read is better than a screen and social media. Whatever you read is bound to make for a better conversation-starter throughout the waking hours of your week, too. This might be especially difficult for people who feel they have to work on their computers late into the night. If that’s you, remember that you’re only human and you’ll be more productive the next day if you get the sleep you need.
You can also try meditating, praying, or remembering things for which you’re grateful before you fall asleep. Your brain needs time to cool down and relax before totally shutting off and sleeping. This can help end the cycle of thoughts and worries that prevent many folks from finding restful sleep.
We Smile Dentistry wishes all of our patients full health and wellness, including quality sleep! In some cases, oral health issues such as TMJ, grinding and clenching (bruxism), or sleep apnea might be physical barriers keeping you from getting enough sleep. Your dentist can help you address and treat these issues.
If you are looking for a London, Ontario dentist to help with these or any oral health needs, make an appointment at We Smile Dentistry today!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with your London dentist, give us a call today or schedule an appointment online! We look forward to hearing from you.
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