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Simple Steps for Sound Sleep

Every year, people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars chasing the elusive “good night’s sleep.” Fancy pillows, special mattresses, sprays, medications and devices all promise miracles yet deliver disappointment. The tossing and turning continues and the daytime exhaustion persists. Sleep deprivation can lead to poor work performance, increased accidents, and serious mood disorders that affect relationships. So why is great sleep so hard to get? Poor quality of sleep can be a result of lifestyle and poor habits, sleep disorders, or disruptive bed partners.

Here are some helpful steps to sleep more soundly:

Step 1 - Develop healthy sleep hygiene habits

•    Stick to a regular sleep schedule One should make an effort to go to bed when they are sleepy and wake up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends. This consistency helps keep the body’s clock on schedule. If possible, avoid naps during the day, especially in the afternoon. Daytime napping can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

•    Create the perfect sleep environment For optimal sleep, the bedroom should be quiet, dark and cool. Turn off the TV and stay away from smartphones, tablets, laptops or e-readers before bedtime. The bright light from electronic screens disrupts the sleep-inducing hormones and inhibits the ability to fall asleep.

•    Decrease caffeine Limit caffeine intake throughout the day and avoid consuming any after 2 p.m.

•    Practice bedtime rituals Develop a relaxing routine that lets the body know it’s time to wind down for the night. Warm baths, reading books, and meditation are all calming activities that will allow the body to shift into sleep mode.

Step 2 - Seek medical help

•    Consult a sleep physician – If one finds that they or their bed partner are still having trouble feeling rested in the morning, they could have a sleep disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. One of the most common sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, and it afflicts at least 25 million adults in the United States. Sleep apnea is a serious disease that can cause one to stop breathing up to hundreds of times per night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. Left untreated, it can increase the risk of several other health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. More than 90 million Americans suffer from snoring, a common sign of sleep apnea. Snoring not only affects the person doing the snoring, but it can also rob their bed partner of good-quality sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), snoring should be treated, even without the presence of sleep apnea.

•    Schedule a dentist appointment Dentists that are trained in dental sleep medicine work in conjunction with sleep physicians to treat sleep apnea and snoring with oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is an effective, custom-made, mouth guard-like device that supports the jaw in a forward position to help keep the airway open. Oral appliance therapy has a higher compliance rate than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Although CPAP is highly effective, many patients dislike the machine and mask. Patients often prefer an oral appliance because it is comfortable, quiet and convenient for travel.

Healthy sleep habits can drastically improve sleep, thus improving one’s overall quality of life. Following these simple steps can put everyone on the path to a better night’s sleep!

For more information, contact Dental Sleep Doc at 803-782-8786 or DentalSleepDoc.com. 

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