Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/11/2020 --Nothing feels better than a good night's sleep. It makes your waking hours more productive, focused, and happy.
"Sleep hygiene" of the actions you take for a good night's sleep. According to Intermountain Healthcare sleep experts, like brushing your teeth, these habits must be done consistently to be effective. Where and how a person sleeps, their sleep habits, and even the type of mattress and pillow used really do matter.
If sleep is a struggle, experts say it can take trial and error to find solutions. Intermountain caregivers give these five tips for a better night's sleep:
1. Sleep environment. The bedroom should be an atmosphere where when entered, the brain subconsciously knows it is time to sleep. Many people use their bedroom to study, watch TV, or go online. None of that is good for sleep hygiene.
"You don't want to associate your bedroom with feeling anxious or thinking about work or school," advises Suleman Iqbal, a sleep disorders specialist with Intermountain Healthcare. "To emphasize relaxation, try redecorating your bedroom, turning down the lights, and keeping it dark and quiet."
2. Mattresses. Being physically comfortable is important, no matter what the sleeping environment. When buying a new mattress, find one that be tried at home. Lying down for a couple of minutes isn't the same as spending eight hours in bed. Many online mattress retailers have in-home trials. Some high-end hotels allow individuals to buy the mattress and bedding that was used. In any case, always try the mattress out first. It might take a week or so to adapt to or know it won't meet individual sleep needs.
3. Pillows. Pillows are a personal choice. Whether a soft or firm pillow, individuals need to ensure it is comfortable and won;t contribute to allergies. Some people want a down or feather pillow, but then they realize they have an allergic reaction. Allergies can interfer with breathing, make it more likely for a person to snore, breathe through their mouth, and wake up with a dry mouth. A physician can help with allergies and associated breathing difficulties that can disrupt sleep.
4. Bedtime routine. One hour prior to bed, start preparing for sleep. Like anything, the prep work will make the final result better.
"Sleep is the same way," said Dr. Iqbal. "Try calming activities that signal to your brain that it's time for bed, such as turning off electronic devices and turning down the lights."
5. Your sleep position. Once in bed, sleep apnea is more likely to occur if and individual sleeps on their back, as the tongue tends to fall backward and breathing can become compromised. Sometimes positional therapy can help. Try to avoid sleeping on the back and try elevating the head with a couple of pillows.
You can contact an Intermountain Healthcare sleep medicine specialist or your primary care provider for more information on getting a good night's sleep.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.