Sleep Facts and Sleep Hacks

Sleep Facts:

  1. Sleep Problems can cause, contribute to, or worsen: tiredness, fatigue, learning problems, self-control and mood changes, lack of motivation, ED, relationship issues, depression, early senility, dementia, Alzheimer’s, “ADD”, “ADHD”, arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, diabetes, obesity, GERD, pulmonary (lung) disease, stress, colitis, Crohn’s Disease, facial pain, TMJ, headaches, migraines, back pain, stroke, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and heart attack.
  2. Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Disordered Breathing in kids is often expressed, not as tiredness, but as Growth and Development Problems, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, poor scholastic achievement, “ADD” and “ADHD”.
  3. Sleep Problems include, not only Sleep Disordered Breathing (Sleep Apnea and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome), but also movement disorders (PLMS), REM Disorder, narcolepsy, insomnia, and dozens of other issues properly diagnosed by a sleep physician.
  4. Sleep Disordered Breathing can be treated with CPAP or Dental Sleep Appliances; and helped with sleep position, nasal breathing, weight loss, and good sleep hygiene.
  5. Most drugs given for sleep, in the presence of sleep apnea, actually worsen the apnea and greatly worsen your sleep. You may sleep longer, but the sleep is disrupted and less effective.


Sleep Hacks:

  1. Many medications can damage sleep. They include Anti-depressants, sedatives, anti-histamines (Benadryl), non-drowsy anti-histamines (Claritin, Zyrtec), blood pressure medications, narcotic pain medications, and many others.  Check yours out.
  2. Blue light (TV screens, cell phones, tablets, computer screens, and e-books) tell your brain that it is still daylight and that it is not time to settle down for sleep. They should not be used within one or two hours of bedtime.
  3. Fluorescent light also fools the brain into thinking it is not time to slow down for the night. Any reading prior to bed should be with a book and under incandescent light.
  4. Caffeine can viciously disturb sleep, whether taken 6, 3, or 1 hours prior to sleep. The half-life or caffeine is about 5 hours and a single energy drink, soda, or large coffee can have 5-10 times the caffeine of a standard 30-years-ago cup of coffee.
  5. Most folks do not realize how their habitual coffee has affected them because they are not aware that their own sleep could be much deeper and more restful than what they experience. If you are caffeine-sensitive, avoid all caffeine after lunch.
  6. Nicotine, from any form of tobacco or vaping, is horrible for sleep. Try to abstain.
  7. Alcohol may let you fall asleep faster but disturbs your later sleep cycle, preventing you from getting the deep sleep and rest you need. Alcohol also worsens sleep apnea.
  8. Carb-loading prior to sleep worsens sleep. If a late snack is needed, make it a light one with more protein and fat; and fewer carbs.
  9. The bedroom should be dark for sleep; no LED indicators for sleep alarms, TVs, computers, battery back-ups, night light, phones. Any lights should be red-only in color; no yellows, pinks, blues, greens, or whites, etc.  Any small light can disturb your sleep, so turn out the bedroom lights, let your eyes adapt, and find the lights.  Paint over needed ones with red nail polish, get black-out curtains, cover over all things that glow, and if necessary, use eye shades.
  10. The bedroom should be dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable. It should be used for sleep, cuddling, and sex.  It should not be for work or arguments.
  11. Exercise daily helps you sleep.
  12. Wearing clean, comfortable socks to bed helps many folks sleep.
  13. For many, a hot shower immediately prior to slipping into bed can help you relax for sleep.
  14. Melatonin 3-5mg can be taken 1 hour after sundown, 1 hour before sleep, and 9 hours prior to your intended wake time.