Burke, Fairfax and Fairfax Station, VA

Recent events made all of us more conscious of our health. It is impossible to be at your best physically and mentally if you do not get the proper amount of sleep. Although how much rest you need changes in different phases of your life, poor quality sleep can impede your health.  Today on the blog, we explore eight ways you can improve your sleep and how your dentist – yes, it’s true – can help you get better sleep.

Stay on schedule

Waking up at the same time every day, even on days when you are off work, is crucial to quality sleep. It helps regulate your body clock and conditions you to anticipate sleeping. This is more important to consistent sleep than having a regular bedtime.

Environmental changes

A dark, cool environment is conducive to deep and restful sleep. Eliminate as much light as you can in your sleeping area and wear a sleep mask if necessary. A sound machine can help block out distracting noises, such as animal sounds or nearby traffic. You also want to keep the temperature in your bedroom at about 65 degrees.

Keep a routine

Doing the same things before bedtime each night helps train your body to know when it is time to start winding down and go to sleep. Common elements of a sleep routine might include brushing your teeth, skin care, stretching, fluffing your pillows or preparing your sound machine. If you are struggling with insomnia, avoid watching TV or getting on your computer, phone or tablet; the blue light can affect your sleep/wake cycle.

No naps

If you struggle to go to sleep or stay asleep, and try to compensate for that poor rest by napping during the day, you are just making it more difficult to sleep well at night. If you do need a nap to get through your day, do so early in the day.

Wash up

A hot bath or shower before bed can be a sleep aid. The water warms up your body and, once you lay down, your body naturally begins to cool down, which encourages the initiation of the process of sleep.

Say no to nighttime snacks

If you eat too close to your bedtime, this can mean your body focuses on digestion and not the process of winding down to prepare for sleep. Eating right before bed also can cause indigestion issues such as acid reflux and heartburn, which can make it difficult to get to sleep or wake you up in the middle of the night. Avoid any snacking for the hour or two before you go to bed.

Work out

You don’t want to go lifting weights or run around the neighborhood right before bed, but regular daily exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night. Exercise lowers stress, alleviates tension, increases serotonin and improves your circadian rhythm – all adding up to improved sleep.

Get screened for sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep breathing disorder that affects millions of Americans. This ailment makes breathing more difficult or, in many cases, completely cuts off airflow. Someone with severe, untreated sleep apnea may experience these breathing interruptions hundreds of times per night. Loud snoring is considered the major warning sign of sleep apnea. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include chronic fatigue, poor performance at work or school or difficulty focusing.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of sleep apnea, we can provide the WatchPAT™ at-home sleep apnea screening test. We can forward the results to a sleep specialist, who then makes the official diagnosis of whether or not you have sleep apnea. From there, you can return to your sleep apnea dentist in Burke for treatment.

Don’t let sleep apnea keep you from the restful sleep you need and deserve. If you are showing signs of sleep apnea, schedule a consultation at the office of Pamela Marzban, DDS, today. Just call (703) 940-1350 or complete our online appointment request form.

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