Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which means it’s time for you to gear up for another six weeks of winter here in blustery Livonia, Michigan. For people with healthy sleeping habits, cozying up during the winter months may seem like second nature. In fact, many people report getting their best sleep during the cold months of the year. If you suffer from a sleeping disorder, however, it’s likely you’re not getting the sleep you need, and sleep dentist Dr. James Stewart wants to help.
Tips for Better Cold-Weather Sleep
Falling asleep under a pile of warm blankets and flannel pajamas while snow quietly falls outside the window may sound like a winter dream for heavy sleepers, but, for people who don’t have healthy sleep habits, being cozy won’t necessarily help them get the sleep they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Instead of lying awake all night and watching the snow fall, follow a few of these tips for better sleeping:
- Go to bed if you’re tired, but don’t stay in bed if you can’t fall asleep. Few things are more frustrating than feeling sleepy, going through your bedtime routine, climbing into bed, and then being unable to fall asleep. When you lay in bed for hours waiting for sleep to come to you, you give your mind a chance to wander, which often brings up feelings of stress and worry about a growing to-do list, what the next day will bring, and more—none of which will help you relax enough to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 or 30 minutes of laying in bed, get up and do something that usually makes you tired, but does not stimulate your mind too much, such as reading a simple book or listening to soft music. It’s best to keep the lights low and avoid the television, computer, or cell phone.
- Let some cold air in. Part of your body’s ability to fall asleep is based on your surroundings. If you’re too warm, it’s likely that you’ll have a hard time falling asleep. Use the weather this time of year to your advantage by slightly cracking a window. Let the sounds, smells, and feel of the season in. It’s likely that your body will respond well to the temperature change and you’ll fall asleep easily.
- Say no to caffeine. Naturally, the cold weather will make you want to reach for a warm beverage before bed, but stick to herbal tea or a warm glass of milk rather than coffee or caffeinated tea. It’s no secret that caffeine interferes with sleep patterns, so make falling asleep as easy on yourself as possible and avoid caffeine after about 3:00 pm.
- Exercise is great, but only during the day. Some people work out right before bed because it makes them feel tired and, therefore, sleep better. For others, however, exercise releases endorphins, which stimulate the brain and body, making it difficult to fall asleep. If the latter is how you react to physical activity, try to work out before 6 pm to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle, but get the sleep you need, as well.
Time to Make a Change
If you’ve adjusted your bedtime routine to encourage better sleep habits, but your habits have not changed, it’s time to reserve an appointment with Livonia sleep dentist Dr. James Stewart by calling our Plymouth-area dentist office at (734) 425-4400.