Four Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Whether it’s a hectic work schedule or constant travel, getting proper rest can be difficult during certain stages of life but it’s not impossible. Jeff Rodgers, DMD, D-ABDSM, D-ASBA of Sleep Better Georgia, shares four tips for staying well-rested during stressful times.

Dr. Rodgers1. Prioritize sleep. When the days are busy and you’re working long hours, the solution to staying well-rested is simple: make sleep a priority. It may be tempting, or even feel necessary, to stay up late to answer a few more emails or get the kid’s lunches ready for the next day, but sticking to your normal sleep/wake schedule is especially important during busy seasons. If you don’t keep a regular sleep/wake schedule, you will disrupt your circadian rhythms and hormones, which can upset sleep patterns further and make you groggy throughout the day, inhibiting the skills you need during busy seasons, such as focus and the ability to make sound, rational decisions.

2. When traveling, bring something you’re used to sleeping with, and create the optimal bedroom environment. If you’re traveling a lot during a particularly busy season, you’ll likely be sleeping in a bed you’re unfamiliar with. Studies show that half of our brains may remain alert when sleeping in a new location, negatively impacting sleep. You can help yourself get better rest by bringing things that you’re used to sleeping with back home with you, whether it’s a pillow, blanket, a pair of fuzzy socks, or even a stuffed animal! And, as much, as you have control over, create a bedroom environment that encourages good sleep. The room needs to be dark and cool—even the light from an alarm clock can hurt sleep quality. Bring an eye mask with you to block light, and use a white noise machine to drown out sounds. The Apple White Noise app is a great, portable option.

3. Stay consistent with your normal bedtimes when traveling to a different time zone. Try to fall asleep and wake up at whatever your normal bedtime is back home, meaning that if the new time zone you’re in is an hour ahead, stay up an hour later. This becomes more difficult when traveling to a different country, but try to stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
4. Exercise and eat right. During busy seasons and irregular schedules, it can be easy to skimp out on healthy meals to pick up fast food, or skip exercise. But eating a balanced diet and getting exercise will give you the energy you need to get through the day. Exercise during the day also tires you out a bit when bedtime rolls around. Releasing energy during the day = better sleep at night. Even a walk around the block to clear your mind can help you fall asleep faster. And during busy seasons, you certainly need all the sleep you can get!

Details: 1719 Mt. Vernon Rd., Ste. A, Dunwoody; SleepBetterGA.com

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