6 Simple Steps to Improve Your Sleep

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Feeling tired? So get in bed and go to sleep. For some people, that is easier said than done. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Here are a few tips to help you get a better night’s sleep from Sleep Medicine Specialist, Dr. Dwayne Henry, with Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group.

1. Say goodnight to all electronics.

This includes televisions, computers and cell phones. These electronic devices bring excess light into the bedroom and cause high levels of brain stimulation, interrupting sleep.

2. Pay attention to what you eat.

A light snack that includes complex carbs such as cereal or dairy products can induce sleep. Avoid heavy meals before bed because they can overwork the digestive system and interrupt sleep.

3. Create a consistent and calming nighttime routine.

Settling down each night with the same routine triggers sleep. Relaxing activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath or shower, or listening to soothing music can ease the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness. Also, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

4. Block out the light.

Lights coming from windows or even your alarm clock can decrease the production of your body’s natural sleep hormone, melatonin, and can interrupt sleep. Consider investing in room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan and other devices to create an idle sleeping environment for you.

5. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.

These stimulants are known to cause chemical triggers in your body and disrupt sleep. While alcohol can make you feel sleepy initially, it can result in shallow and disturbed sleep.

6. Know when to see a doctor.

Nearly everyone has a sleepless night, but if you often have trouble sleeping, you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Contact your primary care physician for a referral to Our Lady of the Lake Sleep Center or schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at (225) 765-8938. For more information on Our Lady of the Lake Sleep Center, click here.

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