Sleep is essential to every process in the body and affects our physical and mental functions, our ability to fight disease, and our metabolism. Mental health, work performance and learning hinge on a restful night’s sleep. Getting enough quality sleep is also essential to staying healthy and aging well.

These ten steps can help you get a better night’s rest:

• Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. A set sleep routine will “train” you to fall asleep and wake up more easily.

• Use the bed only for sleep. Avoid reading, watching television, eating, and using your phone.

• Cut down on caffeine. For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night. Caffeine can also increase the need to wake up to use the restroom during the night.

• Be physically active. Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides three important sleep benefits: you’ll fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and wake up less often.

• Limit daytime naps. Prolonged napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep.

• Stop using tobacco. Nicotine makes it harder to fall asleep.

• Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol depresses the nervous system and can worsen snoring and other sleep-breathing problems.

• Improve your sleep surroundings. Remove the television, telephone, and any other devices from the bedroom. This reinforces the idea that this room is meant for sleeping. An ideal environment is quiet, dark, and relatively cool with a comfortable bed and minimal clutter.

• Try to avoid taking sleeping pills. If you do take a prescription sleep medicine, work with your doctor to use it effectively and for as short a time as possible.

Cullman Regional’s accredited sleep center offers deluxe suites and a CPAP care center.

If you have excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, grogginess, and morning headaches, you may require a sleep study. Talk to your physician about a referral to Cullman Regional’s sleep center or visit https://cullmanregional.com/services/sleep-center-cpap/ for more information.

Mark Tafazoli, MD
Board Certified Sleep Physician
Cullman Regional Sleep Center