Sleep routine. Create a clear sleep routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will support your biological clock and strengthen your body.
Daylight. Spend time out in daylight, preferably in the morning. This reduces production of the sleep hormone melatonin and puts the body back in the daytime setting, ready for activity. This strengthens the biological clock and means that the evening darkness will then produce a new batch of the sleep hormone.
Exercise. Exercise releases stress-reducing endorphins, which make it easier to sleep at night and improve the quality of that sleep. Exercise should, however, be avoided immediately before going to bed.
Wind down. Begin winding down in the evening well before bedtime. Stop looking at your computer and phone. Try to put aside anything that might stress you. Write down things you need to remember for the next day. This makes it easier to stop thinking about what needs doing. Calming activities are good, such as reading a (not too exciting) book. Practise the art of relaxing before going to bed. Make bed a work-free zone.
Good sleeping environment. Air your bedroom and then lie on a comfortable bed in a quiet, cool and dark room. Darkness signals to the brain that it is night and stimulates the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Be careful with caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep. Caffeine has a half-life in the body of six to eight hours. This means that if you drink two cups of coffee in the afternoon, caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee will still be affecting your body by the evening. This can be enough to impair your ability to sleep. Alcohol might help you fall asleep, but it is terrible for helping you stay asleep. Metabolising alcohol creates stresses in the body, which cause you to wake intermittently, resulting in poor quality sleep.
Snoring – a warning sign. Around 10 per cent of those who regularly snore also suffer from sleep apnoea when asleep. This entail a total constriction of the airways for a brief moment. Breathing may be interrupted for anything from a few seconds to as much as a minute.
Snoring, and particularly sleep apnoea, leads to poor-quality sleep, which also has a negative impact on quality of life. It will make you feel abnormally tired during the day and you might find yourself having lapses of memory and concentration.
Sleep apnoea may be associated with a number of serious illnesses. The lower oxygen level in the blood forces the heart to work harder, while stress hormones and blood pressure increase. Without treatment, the damaging effects build up and, over the long term, can lead to a number of serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma. In addition, a person with deep apnoea runs a six or seven times higher risk of being in a car accident due to tiredness.
- Try to sleep on your stomach or side.
- Try breathing aids that expand the airways(nasal strip and plastic dilators).
- If you have a cold, try a nasal spray.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills.
- If overweight, try shedding some of that weight.