Sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining good health. To understand how to improve quality of sleep, we spoke to Jana Loveless, M.D., Oklahoma Heart Institute sleep specialist and director of sleep medicine programs at Hillcrest Claremore, Hillcrest South and Hillcrest Henryetta.
In order to improve your sleep quality, Dr. Loveless encourages you to set a stable wake time. That means 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you are waking up at around the same time every morning, creating a routine for your body. Dr. Loveless says, “It’s important to reserve your bed for sleep and sex only. Another way to improve your sleep is to avoid alcohol near bedtime, as alcohol disrupts the latter half of your sleep period and you end up with worse sleep overall.”
Additionally, Dr. Loveless says “Some of the issues that can keep you from getting adequate sleep include not allowing sufficient time for sleep or making sleep a priority. Having electronics available can also interrupt the quality of your sleep.” Dr. Loveless recommends taking your electronics out of your bedroom, if you can. If you can’t, she suggests having them across your bedroom, rather than right next to your bed. Turn on the do not disturb function so your phone is not waking you up due to sounds or light.
The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) recommends creating habits to improve your sleep health. In addition to consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning, you can create a healthy sleep environment in your bedroom. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, relaxing and set to a comfortable temperature to aid you in getting the best sleep you can. You should also avoid large meals and caffeine before you go to bed. When thinking about why it’s important to create healthy sleep habits and bring awareness to sleep hygiene, Dr. Loveless shares “Sleep is universal. Everything that lives has a sleep period. We just don’t give sleep the importance it is due. The attitude of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” may be common, but memory is consolidated in sleep. Our bodies heal themselves and grow in sleep.”
Dr. Loveless recommends seeing a doctor anytime you think you are having problems with your sleep. She shares, “It’s important to see a doctor about your sleep if you think you’re having any problems, whether it’s going to sleep, staying asleep, not waking up feeling refreshed, snoring, restless sleep, or daytime sleepiness despite having an appropriate amount of sleep.” Dr. Loveless adds that sleep behaviors like sleep walking, eating, fighting and frequent nightmares can also be reasons to contact your physician. .
Health consequences for not getting enough sleep include developing an increased risk of obesity, dementia, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated and creating a healthy sleep environment are all ways to improve the quality of your sleep.
If you have questions about sleep or are looking to improve the quality of your sleep, please call (918) 592-0999 to make an appointment with Dr. Loveless