Sleeptember is sleep awareness month!

With one week left to go, here’s the low down on a good night’s sleep!

Snoring Quote

This week we spoke with Respiratory Therapist, Steve Archer, from Clinical Sleep Solutions in Squamish, who says “Sleep in general is undervalued in our society. People are busy and if they’re going to cut corners, they usually cut corners on sleep”.

Although sleep may be a natural human activity, for some people, it doesn’t happen so easily. Archer suspects that “the statistic of people who have ever struggled with sleep is probably extremely high. Probably half of the population, at some point in time, has struggled with sleeping, or not been able to fall asleep or get enough sleep”. 

Here are some tips to help with “Sleep Hygiene,” or some good sleep habits to help get the best quality rest:

1) Get Regular: get up and go to bed at, more or less, the same time every day.

2) Sleep when Sleepy.

3) Get up and try again: If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again. Examples include: sitting quietly on the couch with the lights off, or reading a book. Avoid doing anything too stimulating.

4) Avoid caffeine & nicotine: These substances act as stimulants and should be avoided for at least 4-6 hours before bed.

5) Avoid alcohol: as this interrupts the quality of sleep. No alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before bed.

6) Bed is for sleeping: This way your body will associate your bed with sleeping (and little else).

7) No naps: It is best to avoid taking naps during the day to make sure you are tired at bedtime.

8) Sleep rituals: some people create their own rituals, such as: light stretching, breathing exercises or a cup of hot water or milk.

9) Bathtime: Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before bed can be useful to raise body temperature and allow it to drop again, causing a feeling of tiredness.

10) No clock-watching: Frequently checking the clock during the night can make you wake up and reinforces negative thoughts of having to get ready for the day.

11) Use a sleep diary: This can be useful to track sleep patterns and habits.

12) Exercise: Regular exercise is a good idea, but try not to do strenuous exercise 4 hours before bed.

13) Eat right: a healthy, balanced diet will help you sleep well, but timing is important. Avoid being too hungry or too full before bed.

14) The right space: Keep a quiet, cool, comfortable and dark bedroom for best quality sleep.

15) Keep daytime routine the same: even if you have a bad night’s sleep, try to keep your daytime routine the same, even if you are tired. Avoiding normal activities due to tiredness can reinforce insomnia.

If you are experiencing chronic sleep trouble Archer suggests contacting your physician or visiting a sleep clinic for assistance.

*information provided via Clinical Sleep Solutions