The Pryor Times

December 30, 2011

The gift of a good night’s sleep


— Even with all of the hustle and bustle of the season, Jonathan Schwartz, M.D., medical director of the INTEGRIS M.J. & S. Elizabeth Schwartz Sleep Disorders Center of Oklahoma, says by utilizing the following tips you will find that it is possible to continue to get the needed sleep to provide the energy needed to enjoy the holidays:

• Maintain a regular sleep schedule. This includes a set bedtime and a set wake time that should be followed every day including on the weekends. It is tempting to stay up later or sleep in on the weekends or during vacation, but shifting your sleep schedule can make it more difficult to go to sleep on the next night.

• Follow a bedtime ritual. Avoid going to bed immediately after a party or while trying to plan dinner for the family gathering. It is important to go to bed with the intention of going to sleep. Getting into bed with thoughts of how much fun you had at the office holiday party or with the stress of deciding between cooking turkey and ham can make it difficult to get to sleep. To set the stage for getting to sleep, take time to relax before getting into bed.

• Avoid alcohol or caffeine during the evening. Parties or gatherings during the evening hours may include alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, but alcohol and caffeine are likely to disturb your normal sleep pattern. Caffeine can make it difficult to get to sleep and can also lead to more frequent awakenings at night. While alcohol may make it easier to get to sleep, once the body digests and metabolizes alcohol, it can produce significantly fragmented sleep and can also increase the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea, which further disturbs your normal sleep pattern.

• Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. The holidays are filled with opportunities for eating, but eating too late in the evening can make it more difficult to get to sleep and can also cause heartburn or indigestion which can disturb your sleep. Due to the way the body metabolizes food, eating late in the evening can also increase the chances of adding weight, which ultimately leads to millions of New Year’s resolutions to drop that extra holiday weight.

For more information contact the INTEGRIS M.J. & S. Elizabeth Schwartz Sleep Disorders Center of Oklahoma at (405) 636-7700 or 1-800-53-SLEEP or visit integrisok.com/sleep.