We all have questions about sleep, but who do we ask? We created Ask Dr. Lisa to give you a place to turn! We pick out sleep-related questions submitted on our Facebook Page, and send them to our medical sleep expert, Dr. Lisa Shives, for an answer. In this installment, Dr. Lisa talks about what’s most important for a good night’s sleep.
Randy Marks asks: What is the most important tip to help with sleep overall?
Dr. Lisa answers: That’s a difficult question because each individual is different. However, speaking generally, the most important thing to look at when trying to sleep better is whether you have good habits at bed time, which in the field of sleep medicine is called “sleep hygiene”. Sleep hygiene is made up of a number of things, including environment and schedule. Is your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool at bedtime? Is your bedding clean and comfortable? Sleep hygiene also encompasses your schedule. Do you tuck yourself in at approximately the same time every night? Do you leave 30-60 min before bed as a buffer zone, a time without electronics? In that time you can take a hot bath/shower, listening to relaxing music or listen to an audio book—anything that is relaxing and can be done in dim light. If you work toward answering “yes” to all of these questions, you will work toward a better night’s sleep.
Dr. Shives works with SleepBetter.org to provide a medical view of sleep issues. She is one of only a few practitioners with a fellowship in Sleep Medicine in addition to board certification by both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.