Productive Sleep Sessions are Vital to Good Health
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our mind and body. One study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that the quality of sleep is much more important than the quantity to feel rested. Our body knows when it’s time for bed—when we feel tired, whether that’s at 8 p.m. or 1 a.m.—the more consistent, the better. If it’s hard to discern the body’s signals, it generally begins a physical repair process from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and a mental repair cycle from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Try to be asleep during those hours.
Wake up naturally. A jolting alarm or radio isn’t doing the brain and body any favors; it can be stressful on the body and even elevate blood pressure, which is not good first thing in the morning. If we do need an alarm, consider a wake-up light that mimics the sunrise, slowly brightening the room, waking us in a natural, gentle way.
Kick the screen habit. Looking at an electronic screen such as a television, computer, tablet or smartphone before bed is detrimental to sleep quality. Light from these devices is disruptive to the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which helps regulate circadian rhythm, and screen time before bed can throw off normal SCN function. Also, the electromagnetic frequencies that these electronic emit may affect sleep quality. Make sure there are no devices plugged into any outlets in the bedroom.
Not getting enough quality sleep is harmful to our mental and physical health. When we get into the habit of following these tips, we’ll be feeling rested and refreshed in no time. If sleep problems persist, that could indicate a breathing-related sleep disorder. This occurs when there is not enough oxygen reaching the brain during sleep. Because the body doesn’t get enough air, one symptom among many, including snoring, is that we wake up still tired and need a stimulant such as coffee to keep going. In a case like this, a simple dental device may help get some good-quality sleep.
Bernice Teplitsky, DDS, is the owner of Wrigleyville Dental, located at 3256 N. Ashland Ave., in Chicago. For appointments, call 773-975-6666 or visit WrigleyvilleDental.com.