Sleep hygiene in its fullest state can be life alteringBy Veita Bland, M.D. / October 21, 2022
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Sleep has been one of the things most people have sought refuge in during the pandemic. Sleep is one of those things that is free to all, though not valued as it should be. A lack of sleep can be physically and psychologically debilitating resulting in poor health.
The hygiene of sleep is an almost lost art in the U.S. Sleep hygiene, when practiced in its fullest state, can rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. Some tenets include making sure that one’s bedroom is kept cool. Decrease the lights in the room. Make sure you give your body ample time slow down prior to bedtime. Do not exercise right before bed. Have a routine that lets your body know you are getting ready for bed. Watch the use of stimulants such as caffeine during your day. Many healthcare professionals advise patients to not consume caffeine after 12 noon in order to avoid its stimulant effects at bedtime.
Many people resort to taking sleep aides. Be careful when consuming these products. It is important to know their full usage and how they make affect you long term. The last thing you want is sleep with the aid of a pill followed by harm.
One of the most popular over the counter preparations for sleep is melatonin. Melatonin is made by your body to help you sleep and sleeping in that cooler room may aide in its production. It is believed to be relatively safe in adults.
Throughout the pandemic, I noticed there are more children being given melatonin to help with sleep. As parents strive for optimal sleep (8 hours or more), they want the same for their children. Children as we all know are not just little adults. Their systems are different. They cannot handle all the medications and dosages that adults are able to handle.
Infant deaths have been reported and elevated levels of melatonin noted in several of those cases. Melatonin is probably one of those over-the-counter sleep aids parents should consult their healthcare provider prior to administering to an infant or child.
Establish a routine of slowing down the pace of the day for your infant or child. Dim the lights and turn down or off noise to decrease the stimulation a child receives. Try a warm soothing bath to wash away the grime of the day. Use a warm towel to dry off with, followed by soft warm pajamas and a soothing bedtime story or rocking may be all a child may need.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.