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Behavioral Strategies to Improve Sleep and Stop Snoring

pillows and book on bedThere’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning feeling exhausted and worn-out. Not getting enough sleep at night can ruin your entire day and makes it difficult to go about your daily activities.

Snoring can greatly interfere with your ability to get a full night of restful, refreshing sleep. Routine snoring puts you at risk for several health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.   Anti snoring devices are considered a supplemental treatment to snoring, but this article will focus on behavioral strategies.

Sleep apnea can cause interrupted breathing during sleep; waking up frequently during the night; sleeping lightly, and therefore not getting enough deep sleep; high blood pressure; and excessive daytime drowsiness that can impair your quality of life.

If you struggle with snoring and difficulty sleeping, try these behavioral strategies to improve the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling restored and ready for the day.

Don’t Try to Force It

Many people who suffer from insomnia try to force themselves to fall asleep—usually to no avail. Sleep is a natural, biological process, so it can’t simply be forced. In fact, trying too hard to fall asleep often has the opposite effect and leads only to frustration.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try not to focus too much on attempting to will yourself to sleep; it probably won’t work, and you’ll end up getting frustrated. Instead, try doing something that helps you relax, such as reading or listening to calming music.

Engaging in a calming activity will likely promote sleep more effectively than fixating on your sleep issues.

Don’t Try to Catch Up

People who experience sleep difficulties sometimes try to compensate for the sleep they’ve been lacking by getting extra sleep to make up for it. For instance, someone who hasn’t been getting enough sleep might go to bed early or sleep in later than usual to counteract their insomnia.

This strategy is counterproductive. Trying to catch up on sleep by altering your regular sleep pattern is highly disruptive to your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day is crucial for maintaining a healthy, consistent sleep schedule.

Keep a Routine

Maintaining a consistent routine can be immensely helpful in regulating your sleep cycle. It’s important to set specific times to wake up and go to sleep each day.

It’s also helpful to engage in calming activities in the hour before you plan on going to bed. For example, you might want to meditate or do some deep-breathing exercises to help you relax.

You might also try using aromatherapy by lighting a soothing lavender candle or brewing a cup of chamomile tea.

Avoid Over-Stimulation

The bedroom should be reserved for rest. Working, watching television, and using your smartphone or computer are all over-stimulating activities that should be avoided in the bedroom.

You want your brain to associate the bedroom with sleep, and not with work or other stimulating activities. If possible, do not keep a computer or television in the bedroom, and do not use a laptop or smartphone in bed.

The bed should be a place only for sleeping and calming activities such as reading. That way, your mind will associate the bedroom with sleep, and the bedroom will be a peaceful environment conducive to rest.

Limit Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a stimulant, so it has the potential to interfere with your sleep. Try to reduce or eliminate your overall caffeine intake.

If you must drink caffeine, do so only in the mornings and early afternoons. Drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea in the late afternoon or evening can make it harder to fall asleep at night and hinder your ability to fall into a restful, deep sleep.

Eating a healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals and getting plenty of physical exercise are great methods for improving your energy level during the day without relying on caffeine.

Exercise During the Day

Getting enough physical exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night. Just don’t work out too close to bedtime, as doing so can make you feel energized and make falling asleep difficult. However, engaging in plenty of physical activity during the day can improve the quality of your sleep.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help you sleep better at night and feel alert and energized throughout the day.

Drinking alcohol before bed can lead to restless, disturbed sleep. Eating spicy or heavy foods close to bedtime can lead to heartburn and indigestion, making it difficult to fall asleep. Consuming too much sugar can also hinder sleep.

lemons in waterStay Hydrated Throughout the Day

Being dehydrated can significantly interfere with sleep, and many of us don’t drink enough water throughout the day.

Dehydration dries out your mouth and nasal passages, exacerbating snoring issues. Dehydration can also cause leg cramps that interrupt sleep.

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day. However, don’t just chug a massive quantity of water before bed, or else you’ll be waking up to run to the bathroom during the night.

Manage Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can make it harder to get a restful night of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can make stress and anxiety levels worse. It’s a vicious cycle.

Try taking steps to manage your stress and anxiety, such as: learning time management strategies; limiting your consumption of nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine; getting regular exercise during the day; talking with a trusted friend, relative, or counselor; eating a healthy, nutritious diet; and, if necessary, seeking professional mental health treatment.

Invest in Comfort

A comfortable, supportive mattress and pillows can truly make a difference. There are even pillows specifically designed to stop snoring by adjusting the natural alignment of your neck and head.

Conclusion

Snoring and other sleep issues make it difficult to go about your day and impair your overall quality of life. These behavioral strategies for reducing snoring and improving the quality of your sleep can help you achieve the restful, restorative sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed.

Mark Walton
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