sleep hygiene 22 NOV / DEC 2018 I Healthcare Journal of new orleans up feeling fatigued, ask your doctor if a sleep study could be useful. This could help iden- tify disorders, such as sleep apnea. There are also certain underlying medical conditions that affect one’s ability to sleep, so sleep is always an appropriate topic to bring up dur- ing a doctor’s appointment, even if you are there for a different health concern. For many, getting enough rest is a jour- ney and a practice. Celebrate your victo- ries, and don’t be hard on yourself when your body doesn’t cooperate. It’s all a part of the practice. I hope that these tips help you find bliss- ful rest and rejuvenation. n Sources 1 Figueiro MG, Rea MS. The Effects of Red and Blue Lights on Circadian Variations in Cortisol, Alpha Amylase, and Melatonin [Internet]. Interna- tional Journal of Endocrinology. 2010 [cited 2018 Sep 17]. Available from: https://www.hindawi. com/journals/ije/2010/829351/ 2 Figueiro MG, Bierman A, Rea MS. A train of blue light pulses delivered through closed eyelids sup- presses melatonin and phase shifts the human circadian system. Nat Sci Sleep. 2013;5:133–41. 3 Ancoli-Israel S, Martin JL, Kripke DF, Marler M, Klauber MR. Effect of Light Treatment on Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Demented Nurs- ing Home Patients. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Feb;50(2):282–9. 4 Kräuchi K, Cajochen C, Werth E, Wirz-Justice A. Warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep. Na- ture. 1999 Sep 2;401(6748):36–7. 5 Sung EJ, Tochihara Y. Effects of bathing and hot footbath on sleep in winter. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2000 Jan;19(1):21–7. 6 Nofzinger EA, Nissen C, Germain A, Moul D, Hall M, Price JC, et al. Regional cerebral metabolic correlates of WASO during NREM sleep in insom- nia. J Clin Sleep Med. 2006 Jul 15;2(3):316–22. 7 Peters BR. Irregular Bedtimes and Awakenings. Sleep Medicine Clinics. 2014 Dec 1;9(4):481–9. 8 Karadag E, Samancioglu S, Ozden D, Ba- kir E. Effects of aromatherapy on sleep qual- ity and anxiety of patients. Nurs Crit Care. 2017 Mar;22(2):105–12. 9 Which Sleep Position is the Best? [Internet]. Sleep.Org. [cited 2018 Sep 17]. Available from: https://sleep.org/articles/best-sleep-position/ 10 Ebrahim IO, Shapiro CM, Williams AJ, Fenwick PB. Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2013 Apr;37(4):539–49. 11 Pagel JF, Parnes BL. Medications for the Treat- ment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;3(3):118–25. must sleep on your stomach, you should invest in a face-less pillow that will provide you with space to breathe while sleeping face down. 9 — 7 — Cut back on nighttime use of alcohol and certain anti - anxiety medications. While making this change is challenging for many, any improvements that you can make in this area will do wonders for your sleep quality and daytime energy levels. Alcohol causes you to fall asleep faster, but it also decreases sleep quality later in the night. Alcohol raises your epinephrine (adrenaline) levels several hours after intake, which stimulates your body and disrupts your sleep until alcohol levels return to zero. Alcohol also decreases rapid-eyemovement (REM) sleep, which is a key component of the sleep cycle and is involved in learning andmemory consolidation. 10 Alcohol wors- ens sleep apnea by relaxing throat muscles. Benzodiazepines (commonly called ben- zos) are sometimes used to treat insom- nia. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, dis- rupt the normal sleep cycle and suppress REM sleep. 11 They can also be habit-form- ing, and regular use requires increasing doses tomaintain desired effects. There are sleepmedications that do not interfere with REM sleep and have less addictive potential, and your physician should be able to help you identify these alternatives. Do not stop taking any prescribed medications without first consulting your physician. Individuals respond to caffeine uniquely, but people who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine will generally sleep better after reducing their intake. Set realistic goals to limit your caffeine intake, such as avoiding coffee after 12 pm, forgoing coffee during particularly stressful days or weeks, or opt- ing for tea instead of coffee on most days. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and can negatively affect sleep in some people when consumed too close to bedtime. — 8 — Reduce stress. I believe this is the most important part of improving sleep quality. One of the most effective ways to relieve stress is regular physical activity. Exercise at least a few hours before bedtime to allow elevated adrenaline levels to return to baseline. Maintaining a comprehensive to-do list is helpful in reducing the overthinking that can occur when you are trying to wind down for bed. Talk therapy can be profoundly benefi- cial for stress reduction, particularly if you have mental health symptoms, a history of trauma, or simply have a lot on your mind. From journaling to creating art to garden- ing, the activities that reduce one’s stress are highly individual. Make the time to domore of what you love to do. If you sleep eight hours per night yet wake There are sleep medications that do not interfere with REM sleep and have less addictive potential, and your physician should be able to help you identify these alternatives.