Six ways to improve your sleep, according to the experts

Six ways to improve your sleep, according to the experts
Make sure you have a good mattress. If you can't buy a new one, flip the old one over. (Source: wwsb)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The National Safety Council said 43% of American workers report that they are sleep deprived. So what can you do to get a better night’s sleep? A sleep expert said there are six changes people can make.

Sabika Sadiq is a second year medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton. But, for her and others, tuition isn’t the only price they’re paying.

“Most of our class is probably sleep deprived,” Sadiq said.

She said most days start early for class and run into the late hours of the night for studying.

“When you make a commitment to a field like that, it’s basically like you know what you’re getting yourself into. And sleep is one of the things that gets pushed on the back burner,” said Sadiq said.

And the sleep deprivation has impacted her physically. She says she sometimes feels dizzy or gets a wave of extreme tiredness, "There’s times where you know I have a chronic headache that won’t go away because of the fact that I’m very, very tired. But, it’s something that I’ve gotten so used to that it’s second nature now.”

Dr.Glenn Adams, who is the Medical Director of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Sleep Disorder Center said there are six things people can do to get better sleep.

Number one, work out. Doing so will tire your muscles. But finish exercising three to four hours before bedtime.

“Your muscles need to cool down, you don’t want to be throwing off a lot of heat that may make it harder to fall asleep. So after you have a long enough cool down period, your muscles can relax, your heart rate, everything kind of settles down and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep,” Dr. Adams said.

Number two, don’t eat or drink right before you sleep. Dr. Adams said a big meal can upset the stomach or cause acid reflex. Dr Adams said ideal bedtime snacks are turkey, cheese, milk or anything with the sleep promoting property, Tryptophan.

And alcohol before bedtime is wake up call nobody wants.

“It will usually help us to fall asleep, the problem is that it wakes the brain repetitively so you don’t stay asleep, so you have frequent wake ups throughout the night,” said Dr. Adams.

Number three is to wind down before bed. Read a book or take a bubble bath. Anything that clears your mind.

“If you’re going to go to bed and think about life’s issues; my marriage, my family, my finances. The adrenaline starts flowing and you’re going to have difficulty falling asleep,” Dr. Adams said.

Number four is all about your bedroom. Make it dark, quiet, and comfortable.

“You should have a good mattress. If you can’t afford a good mattress, flip your mattress over, if it’s flippable. To make it firmer,” Dr.Adams said.

Number five is to have the perfect temperature. To get the best sleep, make sure temperatures are between 65 and 72 degrees.

“The cooler the brain, the deeper you sleep, the less likely you will awake. It takes more of a stimulus to wake you up if your brain is sleeping deeper. More pain, more urine in your bladder to wake you up,” said Dr. Adams.

Number six, keep your furry friend off of the bed.

“Pets are going to move, they’re going to move. They’re going to bark, they have allergens in them so they may cause us to have more of a runny nose, stuffy nose during the night,” said Dr.Adams.

Still tired after all that? Dr. Adams recommends seeing a family doctor or a sleep physician to see if you may have a sleep disorder.

As for Sadiq, she said she’s eager to try these tips to help improve her sleep.

Other options to sleep better would be to get a sound machines to block out external noises, get black out blinds to keep the room darker and cooler, and keep a regular sleep routine even on weekends.

What works for you to get a good night’s sleep? We’d love to hear your input. Send us a message on our Facebook page!

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