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10 Ways to Make a More Sleep Friendly Bedroom

We do our best to help our patients get the best sleep possible by treating their sleep apnea with the oral appliance. However, sometimes more is needed. Here are 10 adjustments you can consider if you are still not feeling as refreshed in the morning as you'd like.

1. Make it dark
Light and darkness are powerful cues that tell your brain it's time to rest or get you ready for a productive day. So it's no surprise that light in the bedroom (as well as light peeking in from outside) has an impact on the quality of your sleep. Dimming the lights about an hour before bedtime will help regulate your body clock and tell your brain that it's time to shift into sleep mode. At home, use room darkening shades and curtains to keep it dark at night.

2. Make it quiet
If this is a problem, sound conditioners mask noises that can disturb your sleep and create a consistent and soothing backdrop throughout the night.

3. Create a healthy environment
Controlling nighttime allergies is a great way to improve your sleep. Keep your room clean and use pillow and mattress protectors to help protect against allergens, dust mites, bed bugs, bacteria, mold and mildew.

4. Create comfort
Welcome bedtime with a mattress and pillows that are comfortable to you. It's up to you whether you have a soft or firm mattress - make that decision based on personal preference and your typical sleeping position (although side sleeping is best). The right pillow can improve the quality of your sleep. It allows you to rest comfortably in your ideal sleeping position and supports your head and neck in a neutral position, allowing for better sleep. Drift off to sleep with soft sheets and blankets that smell clean and fresh. Choose textures and colors that will soothe, like crisp cottons, luxurious down comforters, and pale, soft blues, greens or greys.

5. Keep cool
A cool room, typically between 60 and 67 degrees, makes for the best sleep.

6. Turn off electronics
Falling asleep with the TV on can interrupt your sleep. Unlike white noise, TV sounds are contantly changing in tone and volume. Store your phone and other electronic devices away from the bed. Light emitted from computer screens and other electronic devices close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Instead, spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading, and try a sound conditioner or a fan if you don't like a quiet bedroom.

7. Relax and invite sleep
To help clear your mind before bed, try a breathing exercise or relaxation technique.

8. Eat sleep friendly foods
Keep your snacks light when eating at night. Try a banana and a handful of almonds, or a cup of chamomile tea. All of these foods have sleep-inducing properties. Avoid stimulants like caffeine - which can be found in everything from tea to chocolate - after 2:00pm, as the effects can linger for many hours.

9. Use relaxing scents
Include scents in your bedtime routine to help relax and unwind. Lavender is one scent that improves mood and increases relaxation. You can use scents in your bedroom that you like best, like honey, jasmine or lavender.

10. Exercise
Exercise is great for sleep. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.

Posted by R. Sam Callender DDS | 11/12/2014 11:49:00 AM