Sleep hygiene is an important part of a good sleep routine. You must create the best environment possible for sleeping so that your eXciteOSA therapy will have the maximum effect.
We wanted to share some of the sleep hygiene tips that seem to be the most effective in combination with your eXciteOSA therapy. We’re sure there are a lot more to try but the ones below seemed to be consistent across the patients we talked to as well as some of our sleep experts.
#1 Set the Mood
Your bedroom should be a calm and relaxing place that makes you feel good about being there. Your bed should only be for sleep and intimacy. The reason for this is that we want your mind and body to associate your bedroom with sleeping and not eating, working, watching TV, playing games, or other activities.
This is especially important for electronic devices since they can disrupt the release of sleep hormones because of the brightness of the screen.
#2 Shut Off Your Devices
Electronic devices are all around us. Before you go to bed, you should wind down your use of any electronic device. This is important for two reasons. The first is that it gets you in the routine to “get ready for bed.” Second, you want your mind as calm as possible before trying to go to sleep.
The reason devices at night are bad for you is because they emit Blue Light, among other wavelengths, that trick your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. This trick will prevent the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
#3 Clean, Fresh Air
If possible and practical, leave a window open so that the air in your room is clean and fresh. If that’s not possible, then try an air filter. Clean, fresh air will help you breathe better and reduce any allergens that might be lurking in your bedroom. If the outside noise bothers you, consider using earplugs or a white noise application on your phone.
#4 Routine. Routine. Routine.
One of the most powerful sleep hygiene tips is having a consistent sleep routine. This includes the following:
- Go to be at the same time
- Get out of bed if you don’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes.
- Wake up at the same time
- Avoid naps
While sometimes it might not be possible to do all of these (like when you travel), a sleep routine will give you the best shot at a good night’s sleep.
If you find yourself unable to sleep, it’s recommended to get up. Read a book or sit in a chair and try to calm yourself down. Then, try and go back to sleep.
#5 Avoid Meals Before Bedtime
Eating too close to bedtime can cause bloating and acid reflux that will keep you awake. This also includes drinking alcohol or caffeine. Depressants or stimulants too close to bedtime will disrupt your sleep routine, prevent sleep hormones from being released, and prevent you from getting to sleep.
Try and avoid any sort of caffeinated or energy drinks after 2 PM.
#6 Let’s Get Physical but Not Too Physical
Exercise is a great way to stay in shape but also a great way to fall asleep. Exercise is a natural stress reliever and allows your body to bleed off excess energy that might prevent you from sleeping.
It’s best to exercise in the morning or early afternoon so that the natural endorphins that are released during physical activity won’t also disrupt your sleep. Pay particular attention to the rigor of exercise, especially if you’ve just started. Too much exercise, too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect, leading to a racing mind and a restless body.
#7 Be Mindful
Out of all the tips we have come across, mindfulness has the most consistently effective impact on everyone’s daily sleep routine. The reason being that having a mindfulness practice reduces stress and clears your mind before you go to bed. This one is so important to us that we’re going to do another full article on mindfulness techniques.
The great thing about having a mindfulness practice is that you can also do it during your eXciteOSA therapy session. One to try is controlling your breath as follows:
- Inhale a breath through your nose for 5 seconds.
- Exhale through your nose for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this breathing technique as you do your therapy. You can even close your eyes and focus on counting.
It might be a bit of a challenge depending on the level of therapy you are at but over time, this 5 and 5 breathing will spill over into your normal life. It’s also a good way to get calm before a stressful situation.
Commit to the Habit of Better Sleep
No matter which of these tips you decide to try (we hope all), the mere decision to make a positive change in your sleep quality is a huge step. The simple fact that you have committed to the eXciteOSA therapy journey is incredible, and you should feel proud that you are well on your way to better sleep! Good luck and we’ll be with you every step of the way.