Sleep, or the lack thereof, can lead to obesity, diabetes, and a host of other problems that may even bring you into our dentist office on a regular basis. As a dentist, who is very concerned about the overall health of our patients, I am very focused on making sure that you get sufficient sleep at night. The better you sleep, the healthier you are going to be. According to data studied by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a lack of adequate sleep can also lead to conditions like high blood pressure and heart conditions. The healthier your overall physical condition, the less the likelihood that you are going to have serious tooth problems. As such, here are a few tips that could possibly help you to sleep better.
#1 Stick with a schedule.
When you were a child, you were probably chided repeatedly to ‘go to bed on time and get a good night’s rest’. This is your dentist telling you that, as an adult, you need to follow the same set of rules. The body is designed to get a certain amount of rest. This resets the body’s internal clock, helps the hormones to function properly and reduces your susceptibility to severe conditions. Numerous studies have found that people who make it a practice to go to bed at a decent hour tend to wake fully refreshed, early, and ready to take on the day. Additionally, from my vantage point, when you go to sleep early there is less chance of you craving a midnight snack.
#2 Skip the caffeine.
Another, frequently told, and rarely followed, piece of advice is to avoid caffeine before you head to bed. A late night cup of coffee or tea with sugar is bad for your teeth and could lead to a need for teeth whitening treatments at our dentist office. The caffeine can also work to keep you awake for much longer than you need to be. It is recommended that you drink no caffeine for a minimum of ten hours before bedtime as caffeine has a half-life of approximately six hours, meaning that in six hours, half of the caffeine you consumed will still be in your system. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, energy drinks, and soda can all have the effect of keeping you up and reducing your sleep hours.
#3 Eat dinner earlier.
In much the same vein, you do not want to be working to digest a heavy dinner as you are heading to bed. Dinners that are eaten too late, even as late as 8:00 pm, can lead to difficulty sleeping. For many of our patients it is hard to have a heavy dinner right after they get home from work, so we recommend a heavier lunch followed by three or four smaller meals. This allows your body to prepare for the night’s rest and prevents your sleeplessness from leading to chronic snacking. Chronic snacking is not only bad for you because it leads to things like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but because it can play havoc on your teeth, leading to a need for the services of an emergency dentist.
#4 Put electronics away.
A final piece of advice is to put down the electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before bed. Research has shown that reading a book, for example, has a much higher success rate of causing you to fall asleep than looking at your phone, tablet, or television screen.
For more healthy tips, call our office and schedule an appointment.
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