Top Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep
Many factors influence the quality of everyone’s sleep. For OSA sufferers, getting CPAP treatment right is imperative. But whether you suffer from sleep apnoea or not, bad habits can creep in to our daily routines and contribute to sleep that is not refreshing or restorative.
This may be during emotional or stressful times but it may also be as we live our increasingly busy day-to-day lives: we go to bed late and are woken by the alarm early; we stimulate our minds and bodies by drinking alcohol or soft drinks and by watching television or working at night.
For OSA sufferers, effective CPAP treatment in conjunction with maintaining healthy sleep habits are part of ensuring a good, refreshing night’s sleep.
Here are some simple yet important tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Your body has a natural clock and becomes used to rhythms and routines. Turn your CPAP machine on and the light off as soon as you get into bed.
- Get up at the same time each morning, even at weekends or after a poor night’s sleep. Maintain the routine and rhythm you have established.
- Understand your sleep requirements. Most people need at least 6 hours of sleep for normal memory and cognitive function. You should use your CPAP device when you sleep all night, every night.
- Take regular exercise, but finish your exercise at least two hours before bedtime.
- Spend some time in natural light to promote melatonin production in your body. Melatonin is a hormone that allows you to know when to sleep and how much sleep to get.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. A cool (not too hot or too cold) bedroom is most conducive to sleep but if you use a humidifier with an older CPAP device, you may need the room a little warmer to avoid rainout. Avoid distracting noises and light. If you don’t have a comfortable bed, bedclothes or pillow consider changing them.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex. Avoid watching television, studying, eating or working in bed. Your brain should associate bed with sleeping.
- Feel relaxed and warm before bed. A warm bath may help you wind down.
- Leave your mask on and detach the tubing from the mask if you need to get up during the night. When you get back to bed, it’s easier to re-attach the tubing than to refit the mask.
- Consume caffeine in the evening, like tea, coffee, soft drinks or chocolate. Read the label if you’re not sure. Warm milk may help you sleep.
- Drink alcohol before bed. Alcohol worsens snoring and sleep apnoea, it causes fragmented sleep and wakes you early. You will also need to use the toilet more often.
- Exercise just before bed. Exercise stimulates the body and makes it difficult to sleep.
- Eat a heavy, spicy or sugary meal before bed or go to bed hungry. A light snack on something like a banana might help you sleep.
- Smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant that will make sleeping more difficult. There are many more benefits to quitting smoking.
- Rely on sleeping tablets. They should only be used for short periods when the need arises. If you have sleep apnoea, they should only be taken under the guidance of a doctor. Sleeping tablets can blunt the body’s arousal system, which responds to apnoeas.
- Nap during the day. It may reduce your body’s need to sleep at night.
- Engage in stimulating activity before bed, like watching exciting programs, playing competitive games, paying bills or holding important discussions.