6 Ways to Maximize Your Sleep

Submitted by Dr. Salim Qazizadeh on December 14, 2018

Ariana Huffington has encouraged America to have a Sleep Revolution. And it's true, most Americans need more sleep.

Older man having trouble falling asleep

According to the American Psychological Association, “… psychologists and psychiatrists have been arguing for years that one of the most significant and overlooked public health problems in the U.S. is that many American adults are chronically sleep deprived. That is, very few Americans regularly obtain the eight or more hours of sleep that almost all adults need each night.” The consequences of which can affect your health and safety.

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, simply aiming to get more sleep doesn’t always solve the problem. Preparing for a restful night can often help everyone in the family. Follow these physician-advised tips to sleep like a baby in no time.

  1. Plan bed times to be the same time nightly. A set schedule can synchronize the body.
  2. Turn off cell phones, video games and televisions at least 30 minutes before bed time. This is especially important for children, who need extra time to wind down before bed.
  3. Dim the lights in your room and reduce other distractions. Make sure each bedroom in your household is a sanctuary that’s tantamount with relaxation.
  4. If a bath is calming to you, or your child, take one prior to bed time to help you undo the stress of the day.
  5. Reading a soothing book is also a good way to slow down your mind, no matter your age.
  6. Reduce the amount of caffeine that you drink daily. For best sleep, cut all caffeine from your diet at least four hours prior to bed. Don’t forget that chocolate has caffeine in it.

If simple changes like these don’t create a good night’s sleep for your family, your sleep concerns may warrant a doctor’s appointment. Your sleep concerns may be treatable with a simple medical solution. Putting the source of sleep deprivation into check may also help.

Are you sleepy?

Do you feel like you're not getting enough sleep? A sleep study by a board-certified sleep physician can be used to assess both children and adults who show signs of sleep deprivation. Sleep isn’t something you should deprive your body of, but it’s never too late to get on track to a good night’s sleep. Take the Epworth Sleepiness Quiz to help determine whether an appointment is right for you.

Dr. Qazizadeh is board-certified in neurology, sleep medicine, clinical neurophysiology and vascular neurology (stroke). He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He conducts sleep studies at the Sleep Center of Chesapeake Regional Healthcare.