Author: Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates of Baltimore

5 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Looking to improve your health, enhance productivity at work, and achieve personal goals? Sleep is the key. It may sound too simple, but getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night can improve your mood and protect you from health issues like heart disease and obesity. In honor of Sleep Awareness Week, leading PCCAB sleep physicians share five ways to improve your sleep health:

Make a plan

It’s common to schedule dates, workouts, and even phone calls—why not schedule sleep? Bedtime calculators, like the one offered by the National Sleep Foundation, can help you reverse-engineer your sleep schedule based on when you need to wake up. When you plan for healthy sleep, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Set the mood

Creating a bedtime ritual can signal to your brain that it’s time to slow down. Things like turning down the lights and reducing screen time in the hour before bed can help set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Scheduling the “do not disturb” function on your phone for bedtime hours can further reduce distractions and keep you in the right state of mind.

Put your data to use

Most modern fitness trackers report your sleep data, but do you know what it means? Assess your data to determine whether you’re meeting the National Sleep Foundation guidelines for quality sleep. You should be:   

  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less 
  • Waking up no more than once per night 
  • Awake for less than 20 minutes after initially falling asleep; and
  • Getting seven to eight hours of total sleep, with 85 percent of sleep occurring in bed

If you’re falling outside the guidelines for one or more of these areas, take action to get back on track. For example, if you’re waking at night, there are a range of free meditation apps that can help ease you back into restful sleep. InsightTimer and Calm are good starting points.

Use naps to fill in the gaps

If getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night isn’t possible for you, naps are a good replacement. Studies show that taking a short morning & afternoon nap can reduce stress and limit the effects of sleep deprivation. Aim to nap for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day.

See a professional

If you’re following the steps above and still not getting the sleep you need, it’s time to see a professional. The board certified physicians at PCCAB provide consultative services, sleep studies, post-study review and CPAP therapy services to help you get your sleep back on track. PCCAB physicians are dedicated to providing compassionate and personalized care. Request an appointment online or contact one of our locations today to make an appointment.