Do you find yourself waking up tired despite going to bed at a decent hour? Or are you having a hard time falling asleep at night?
Read on for six tips for a better night’s rest and learn some surprising ways your oral health and sleep patterns are connected.
Talk to your dentist
At first glance, you may not think that your dentist may be able to help you sleep better. But if you have ever been told that you grind your teeth at night (or if your jaw feels tight and sore in the morning), tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, may be keeping you from a good night’s rest.
In addition to not feeling well-rested, bruxism symptoms include worn tooth enamel, broken and chipped teeth, increased tooth pain and sensitivity, and soreness in the jaw, face and neck. If you notice some of these symptoms, pay a visit to your dentist. They will be able to confirm if you are indeed grinding your teeth and can recommend a treatment plan.
Reduce stress by learning to set boundaries
When we think of boundaries, we may picture walls or some other kind of fortification we build around ourselves to keep others out. But boundaries are not lines we draw-- they are a way of telling others how we want to be treated. And when we take more control over the way we experience the world, our stress levels decrease.
Creating boundaries isn’t a solitary act: it is a dialogue you are starting that opens the door to more effective communication and, ultimately, stronger relationships. Think of boundaries as a way to reach the ideal relationship you want with a person. And when you lay your head down at night, you will sleep better, knowing that you are living life by your terms.
Avoid scrolling through your phone before bed
Think you aren’t your phone that much? Consider this: as of a 2022 study, throughout the day, the average American will check their phone 96 times, unlock it 150 times and touch it a whopping 2,617 times. And if you’re scrolling on your phone before bed, two factors may be affecting your sleep:
- Blue light: The blue light emitted from our devices can have a significant impact on our sleep patterns. Exposure to the light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, the natural chemical we produce that makes us drowsy. To help with this, set a time limit for when you tuck your phone away for the night and utilize a blue light filter.
- Doomscrolling: In uncertain times, we all want answers. And with the internet giving us instant access to information at our fingertips, it is easy to find yourself in a loop of constantly scrolling headlines and hitting refresh. You can imagine how putting ourselves through this stress can affect our sleep. Try these four tips to help break the doomscrolling habit.
Watch your caffeine intake
Everyone’s caffeine tolerance is different, but as a general rule, you want to keep it under 400mg a day. This is the equivalent of four cups of coffee (eight ounces each), 10 cans of soda (12 ounces each) and two energy shots. Why is 400mg the magic number? Because any more than that can start to cause negative effects on your system, including problems with sleep.
It’s important to note that caffeine has a half-life of about six hours. So, if you consume 200mg of caffeine at 8 a.m., you still have roughly 100mg in your system by 2 p.m. So, keep an eye on how much caffeine you consume and when: making some shifts may improve your sleep.
Stick to a consistent schedule
If you find yourself staying up until midnight one day and sleeping in late the next, reevaluating your sleep patterns may be the key to an improved night’s rest.
Keeping a consistent sleep and wake-up schedule, even on the weekends, can help set a healthy habit to put you on the path to better sleep. Our bodies run on a 24-hour clock called a circadian rhythm and keeping a regular sleep schedule can teach our bodies how to be alert or sleepy at the right times.
Evaluate your sleep setup
The next time you enter your bedroom, take an audit of what you see. What is the temperature in there? Does the morning sun come in through the blinds and wake you? Is your pillow lumpy with age? Do you prefer to sleep with ambient noise?
Your bedroom should be where you should be the most comfortable, so make adjustments as needed to help you sleep better!
The bottom line: A good night’s rest is an essential part of our well-being, as it is when our bodies work to heal and restore us. So, make sure are setting yourself up for sleepy time success.