Practicing good sleep habits (Julie’s better-sleep experiment, Part 8)
Read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Julie A. Palm, editor in chief
Lately, I’ve been making a lot of changes to my habits with a goal of sleeping better overall and stopping a nightly regimen of over-the-counter sleep aids.
I’m participating in a six-week cognitive behavior therapy program for insomnia developed by Dr. Robert Oexman, director of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute. After reviewing my regular sleep patterns and daily habits, Oexman had about a dozen recommendations for me. But he also reported that I’m doing a number of things well when it comes to sleep:
- I generally keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day, even on weekends. When it comes to sleep, the body likes consistency, Oexman says.
- I don’t smoke: Nicotine is a stimulant.
- I don’t drink much alcohol. Alcohol may help people fall asleep initially, but it also causes them to wake up frequently throughout the night.
- I sleep on a comfortable mattress. Although after discussing this more with Oexman, I realized that my mattress is about 7 years old. The Better Sleep Council recommends evaluating a mattress every five to seven years. Oexman thinks I might benefit from rest-testing some new mattresses and has offered to evaluate me using Kingsdown’s bedMATCH system to see what Kingsdown mattress might be right for me.
- I exercise on most days.
- I keep the nighttime temperature in my bedroom quite cool, usually 65 degrees to 68 degrees.
With everything that I apparently have been doing wrong when it comes to sleep, it’s nice to know that I’ve been doing some things right. Yeah me!