Therapy & lifestyle

Hang on to these healthy sleep habits

Being thrown off your sleep schedule for even a day or two can have negative effects on your health. And if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, the stakes are even higher.

It’s important to adopt and implement sleep habits that promote good health. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite and most effective healthy sleep habits that can be part of your regular routine. There’s nothing quite like a good night’s rest.

Why healthy sleep habits matter

Getting good sleep is essential to maintaining good health throughout your life. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.”1 We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

It may seem that not getting enough sleep only affects you physically, but it doesn’t. Your mental health also suffers if you’re consistently sleep deprived. According to Harvard Medical School, “Although scientists are still trying to tease apart all the mechanisms, they’ve discovered that sleep disruption – which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things – wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation.”2

Lacking the proper amount of sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, many of these physical problems slowly develop over time. “Many of the costs of poor sleep go unnoticed. Medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, develop over long periods of time.”3

Healthy sleep tips

If you have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, don’t worry. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite and most helpful habits that will help you consistently get a great night’s rest:

  • Stick to one sleep schedule. This may be one of the more important tips on this list. Why? Because sticking to a regular sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time – helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Your biological clock will stay in rhythm, which will help you stay asleep through the night.
  • Cut caffeine after 2 p.m. It may sound like 2 p.m. is a little early to put the coffee pot down, but it’s not. According to sleep doctor, Dr. Michael J. Breus, caffeine has a half-life of between 5 to 8 hours, depending on your body type and overall health. Even though its strength is reduced, it’s still a stimulant and could cause issues when you’re trying to call it a night.4
  • Treat yourself to a better-than-average mattress. If you don’t already have one, spend the money and get yourself a quality, comfortable and supportive mattress. Most mattresses have a life expectancy of around 9 or 10 years, so take note of yours and make the change if need be.
  • Cut out daytime naps. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.”5
  • Keep a regular, daily exercise routine. Exercising and staying active during the day promotes better sleep, says the Mayo Clinic.4 Just be sure not to overdo it so as not to exacerbate your sleep apnea symptoms. Talk with your doctor to figure out an appropriate exercise regimen.
  • Stay away from heavy meals and alcohol in the late evening. While a conservative amount of alcohol may help you initially fall asleep, it can also keep you from entering sleep’s deepest stages. Big meals, especially if they are spicy, can cause indigestion, which can make sleep uncomfortable.

As we continue into the new year, keeping to healthy sleep habits should be a top priority. Hopefully we’ve given you a nice head start with some of our favorite healthy sleep tips.


1 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
2 https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health
3 http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health
4 https://thesleepdoctor.com/how-to-sleep-better/
5 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

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