I have written repeatedly about The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep. That is one of my links highlighted at the top of this page. If you click on it you will be directed to at least seven blog posts on the importance of sleep.
This afternoon I went to one of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program® that happened to be about healthy sleep habits. Associate Professor Ramadevi Gourineni in Neurology and Director of the Insomnia Program gave us the following list of Good Sleep/Wake Habits:
Daytime factors included:
*Avoiding excessive caffeine. She said not to consume more than two or three (10-12 ounce) beverages with caffeine and not to take anything with caffeine after 2:00 p.m.
*Avoid excessive napping. A 30 to 45 minute nap prior to 2:00 p.m. is all right.
*Exercise three to five days a week for 30 minutes or longer.
*Do Not Smoke.
*Stay active during the day and get sunlight exposure.
Evening Factors included:
*Avoid unintentionally falling asleep sitting and relaxing in the evening.
*Avoid alcohol before bedtime.
*Finish heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime, particularly if you have problems with regurgitation. *On the other hand, a light bedtime snack is all right.
Bedtime and Nighttime Factors included:
*Try to maintain regular sleep and wake times. Do not vary sleep and wake times by more than a half hour on weekdays and one hour on weekends.
*Have a relaxing bedtime routine.
*Do not go to bed too hungry or too full. It is okay to elevate the head of the bed if needed for people with regurgitation.
*Keep the bedroom environment dark, quiet, well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature. Eyeshades and ear plugs are okay.
*Do not spend more time in bed than you are sleeping.
*If you wake up at night and cannot fall back to sleep, then, get out of bed and go to a comfortable, dimly lit room and engage in a relaxing activity such as reading or watching TV for about 15 to 20 minutes, prior to returning to bed.
Back in April of 2011 I wrote Sleep Habits Affect Weight Loss Results and More
and quoted Dr. Anthony Goodman who offered very similar guidelines for good sleep hygiene as part of his Lifelong Health course.
Remember, the brain doesn’t sleep. It does a lot of important integration of input from the day while we are asleep. If we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we are sabotaging our learning process also. When it comes to seniors getting a good night’s sleep, it is also very relevant in fostering alertness and preventing falls.