Exercise 4. Ensuring Good Sleep Habits
Sleeping well can help your body heal from SCAD, and can help you rest and recover from the wear, tear and stress of the day. Here are some tips, but if you need more help with sleep, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.
Review each item below and determine which items may be areas of improvement for you
- Know how much sleep you need, and don’t overshoot or undershoot when scheduling bedtimes and wake-up times.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Avoid naps. Naps generally interfere with getting to sleep at night, but for some people, naps have the opposite effect. Experiment to see what works for you.
- Exercise (with guidance from your doctor), but not before bedtime. Exercising too soon before bedtime (4 hours or less) can be disruptive to sleep, so try to get your exercise earlier in the day.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Studies have shown that caffeine consumption even 6 hours before bedtime can interfere with sleep. Alcohol has some stimulant properties, too, and affects serotonin levels, so it can disrupt sleep as well.
- Get a daily dose of sunshine. This reinforces a natural circadian rhythm.
- Deal with worries well before bedtime. Write a list of things you need to do the next day, as well as any concerns and possible solutions. That way, you don’t have to take your worries to bed with you.
- Go offline for your last hour before bed. Protect this time to wind down, read, have a non-caffeinated beverage, or take a hot shower. (Fun fact: raising your body temperature before bedtime makes the natural dip of your body temperature at bedtime even more significant, promoting deeper sleep). Doing some relaxation exercises can help relax your body to prepare it for sleep, too.
- Avoid television, your phone or your laptop for an hour before bedtime. They all emit blue light, which is present in natural sunlight. This light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime, decreases melatonin levels, and disrupts your natural circadian rhythm. There are apps and special glasses that block blue light if you’d prefer to still use your devices at night.