This page is for general tips and advice, that could be helpful to anyone, and that may help improve the quality of their sleep. Specific tips regarding CPAP use can be found elsewhere throughout this wiki, in the CPAP FAQs, and on the CPAPtalk.com Forum.
Everybody needs to sleep, and sometimes we all need some friendly reminders about general sleep hygiene; good sleep habits and practices, that can help us all sleep better. There are many things that people can do to help improve the overall quality of their sleep. Here are some ideas.
Stage 1: The lightest stage of sleep. Transitional stage from wake. top
Stage 1 shifts: The number of times the sleep stage changed to stage 1.
Stage 2: The first true stage of sleep.
Stages 3/4: The deepest, most restorative sleep.
Stage REM: The dreaming stage; Normally occurs every 60-90 minutes.
Daily activities and habits can affect how you sleep at night. It is important to establish good routines during your waking moments to assist with your nightly sleep time. Here are a few areas to explore.
Light is important for the body clock, or circadian rhythm, to work properly and synchronize itself to the optimal wake and sleep cycles. Not getting enough light during the day, or not getting light early in the day, can throw the body out of sync from it's normal and optimal internal circadian sleep patterns. Light lets your body know it is time to enter the daytime active cycle. Darkness has the opposite effect. Natural sunlight also helps the body to produce vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency may affect sleep quality.
Besides having many health benefits, regular exercise is very effective in helping a person fall asleep easier and achieve a better overall sleep regimen. Some people have difficulty exercising for various reasons, but even small amounts of physical activity can results in sleep dividends.
Daytime naps can hinder your nighttime slumber. Getting extra sleep during the day can upset your body clock and make it difficult to get to sleep at your normal bedtime.
What you consume in your diet can play a role in how well or not you sleep. Getting proper nutrition is important to your overall health and your sleep. Taking a good multi-vitamin will assure you are not deficient of important nutrients. Some people find that by making changes to their diet, they can improve their sleep and often their overall health. Here are some basic things to know about what foods can help or hurt your sleep experience.
Eating too much before bedtime is not healthy. Have a light snack 2 hours before sleep time the latest. This advice has simple explanation. Your organism stays awake digesting the food, so even if you fall asleep part of your body is not "sleeping" and overall you still have less effective sleep which is not restful. You will need more sleep which in turn will not let you wake up easily.
Still there are changes you can make to your diet, or inclusions to your diet that can make achieving quality sleep easier. Foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan can help you get to sleep faster and sleep better. These foods should be eaten as a light snack before bed as they promote sleep. Combining tryptophan foods with carbohydrates or foods with calcium help to increase the effectiveness of the tryptophan. Milk also contains tryptophan, which is only released when heated up. Tryptophan pills may also be purchased over the counter as a natural supplement at your local pharmacy or vitamin store.
Good Two-hour before bedtime snacks:
* these foods contain the sleep promoting amino-acid tryptophan
For more info about tryptophan visit this external link.
Avoiding certain foods before bedtime can make a difference in your sleep patterns. For example, too much of any protein rich foods before bed can keep you up. Foods high in protein contain the amino acid tyrosine, which increases brain activity, the opposite of what is needed when heading for bed. If you suspect something you are eating or drinking could be interfering with your sleep, then eliminate it from your diet for a week or two and see if your sleep improves.
Foods to avoid before bed:
The following personal habits may create problems with sleep.
Your sleep environment plays a big role in how well you sleep. Typically one should try to have a quiet, dark, and comfortably cool place to sleep. Your bed, pillows, bedding, and other factors, also play a role in creating the optimum environment for sleep. Everyone is a little different, so be sure to experiment and keep what works for you.
Make sure it's peaceful.
Size - A comfortable bed is essential for quality sleep. The bed should be large enough for you to stretch out on and turn over in comfortably. You should not feel cramped in bed.
Mattress Firmness - If your back or neck is sore when you wake up, this is a good sign you may need a new mattress or that you may need to adjust the firmness level of your bed. If your bed is too firm, you can add a foam topper to try and increase the softness.
Bedding - Your bedding (sheets, covers, comforter, etc.) should be soft to the touch and preferably clean. Try soft breathable 100% cotton sheets with a higher thread count. Too much or too little bedding can be an issue, as well. Try to find the right balance.
Pillows - There are many different pillows available. Try finding the perfect pillow by experimenting with feather, synthetic, and cotton pillows. You may also want to try some of the various specialty pillows made for stomach, back, or side sleepers, and other situations. Read more about choices on the page devoted to Bed Pillows.
Experts on sleep profess that the bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex. The reasoning is that while it may be comfortable to do other things in bed (read, write, eat, surf the web, work, watch tv, etc.), associating the bedroom with other activities besides sleep can make it more difficult to unwind and fall asleep, in the end. Ideally, your bedroom should be quiet, comfortable, dark, and at your preferred temperature.
Light - Keep the room dark while you sleep. Light can send your body the wrong signals and throw off your body clock. If you have light coming in from a window, it is best to use some blackout blinds, or heavy curtains, to limit the amount of light coming in through the window. Eye masks, or sleep masks, can be helpful with regards to blocking out light.
Noise - The sound level in your bedroom should be very quiet. Some people do not like total silence and are accustomed to some kind of white noise (fan, air conditioner, etc.), which is fine. Loud conversations, TV blasting, loud music, and the like should be avoided. If there are loud sounds coming from outside the residence that cannot be controlled, such as traffic or construction, try a white noise machine, or some soft, relaxing music. Earplugs also work very well.
Most people sleep better in a slightly cool environmental temperature with a relatively low degree of humidity. A room that is too cold, too warm, too humid, or too dry can make sleeping difficult or uncomfortable. Try adjusting the temperature in your room slightly, or use a fan to stay cool. Keep notes in a sleep diary to track if there is any improvement in your sleep. In dryer climates, or in the winter when the heater can dry out the air, try using a stand-alone room humidifier. Stagnant air is not ideal either. Use a fan to keep the air circulating, or crack a window to let in a little fresh air. Some people with night sweats have found The Bedfan to be a helpful product.
It is true that what you do before bed and to get ready for bed, can make a difference in your sleep habits. Here are some things to consider.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time of day, each day, can improve your sleep. Even on the weekends, when it is tempting to stay up late or sleep in, try to stick to your schedule. Having the same schedule helps the body clock stay on cue and synchronized.
1. Sleep Tracker TYLENOL PM
Record your sleep hours and moods, view history over time, add sleep notes to create a journal & get dozens of sleep tips FREE
2. EasyWakeUp http://www.easywakeup.net
Smart Alarm Clock. It uses a motion detector (accelerometer) in order to detect the best time to wake you up (based on research of sleep phases). $0.99 - $14.99
An "environment enhancer" designed to help you create the perfect ambient atmosphere to focus or relax. Over 500 free sounds to download and choose from. $0.99
4. Relax Sound Sleep Lite
A lite version of the full version of aRelax Sound, which contain more than 50 natural sounds and noises: soft sea wave, soft wind via canyon, stream fall into river, waterfall distant, frog sing, katydid, diving, camp fire, train, ocean wave surf, rain forest, mountain hurst, wind blow tent. chimp, churchbell, clock tick, crane, thunder bolt, wild bird, wild boar, chick, lark, sea birds, seagull, sheep blat, wolf, wind chimes, bubbles noise, etc. FREE - $1.99
5. Stress Reducer
Need to unwind and let go of some stress? Stress Reducer is an application that can help you do just that. Its simple and easy.
Select a picture of a shell by touching the button on the app. Once you find a shell you like, put your iPhone to your ear (or if you have an iPod it will play through the external speaker) and hear the ocean waves through the shell (your iPhone speaker). Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. You'll feel the weight of the world lift off your shoulders. FREE
Having a consistent bedtime routine and schedule helps to signal to your body that it is time to start winding down and heading for bed, making falling asleep easier. Avoid stressful situations, strenuous activities, or bright lights before bed. Try some relaxing activities before bedtime. Not only will they help your body prepare for sleep, they relieve anxiety. Here are some suggestions.
Many people have a TV in their bedroom and like to watch television while in bed. However, the light, sounds, and stimulating nature of television is counterproductive to sleep. Most programming on TV is trying to get and keep your attention, and therefore is highly stimulating to the brain, the opposite of what you need when preparing for bed. The light from the TV can also interfere with your body clock and watching TV before bed, or in the bedroom, makes you associate other activities with the bed, and the bedroom. Therefore, it is recommended to remove the television from your bedroom, if you are trying to improve your sleep.
Worry and anxiety can make it difficult to get to sleep. Bedtime should be a time of peace, quiet, and relaxation and so things that cause worry and anxiety should be avoided, if possible. Having a good bedtime routine that is relaxing is helpful, as worry and anxiety release chemicals in the body that make you more awake and alert, making it difficult to fall, and stay, asleep. Sometimes it is difficult to quiet the mind. Try some of the following.
Most people normally wake up during the night, to use the bathroom, or change positions, and then go right back to sleep without a problem. However, sometimes it can be difficult to get back to sleep. It is easy to become frustrated and then feel anxious about getting back to sleep, which only makes the problem worse.
Other ideas: Melatonin. Blue light therapy. More time on CPAP to see if resolves. Switch to APAP machine.
There are many sleep medications or sleep aids available, either over the counter, or by prescription from your doctor. They are usually meant to be used for a short term and sometimes they can be counter productive, because of their side effects. If you have sleep problems, and want to take medications to help you sleep, it is recommended that you work closely with your healthcare professional to decide if medication is part of the solution in your particular situation. According to Donna Arand, Ph.D., clinical director of the Kettering Hospital Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio, interviewed for a recent Reader's Digest Article "Sleep becomes your overriding thought in life," says Dr. Arand. You start mainlining caffeine during the day, then popping sleeping pills at night. Those strategies may give you a temporary boost in alertness, but in the long run they only exacerbate the problem.
Usually behavior modifications make the biggest difference in improving the quality of your sleep.
Other medications, either over the counter or prescription, can also have unwanted side effects that include insomnia, restlessness, and an increase in alertness. Again, read all warning labels, and work closely with your doctor, if you suspect one of the medications you are taking is interfering with your sleep.
These are links to external websites that have more sleep tips.