Tips for a Good Night’s Rest

Reported by the LA Times

FusionHealth’s Dr. Durmer was recently featured in a Los Angeles Times article concerning strategies for better sleep. As poor sleep rises to epidemic levels in our culture, it’s more important than ever to get consistent, deep, restful sleep.

One factor Dr. Durmer stressed was the effects of caffeine and nicotine, which are often underestimated. He described the impact of these substances as much greater on sleep than even prescription pharmaceuticals. Instead of grabbing that third or fourth cup of coffee at 2pm, try going for a walk outside in the sunshine for 20-30 minutes.

Another element to be aware of is the amount of alcohol in your system when you’re trying to go to sleep. While it may hasten the onset of sleep, it is also a natural inhibitor of REM sleep. REM sleep is important for helping the brain fine-tune what was learned during the day as well as managing memory storage. “It’s very difficult to wake from that kind of sleep and feel refreshed because it is a very active physiological state,” he explained, “as alcohol is metabolized by the liver during the night, REM sleep can suddenly rebound and cause disturbing dreams, confused arousals and impaired sleep cycle dynamics leading to a poor night of rest”.

Dr. Durmer also had advice about napping. For adults, routine naps can be a symptom of an ongoing, undiagnosed chronic sleep disorder that interrupts sleep quality. For those who rely on naps to provide a few more hours of quality rest, it is helpful to limit napping time to 90 minutes since most of us will not shift into a REM cycle within 90 minutes, which may lead to feeling less rested on awakening.

Other tips for better sleep included limiting screen use at night, keeping a bedtime routine, and understanding the effects of your medications.

See the Los Angeles Times for full article.