Sleep Advice Tips from Expert Neurologist Dr. Troy Anderson

Dr. Anderson’s Sleep Pearls: Get Better Sleep Today!

By Troy
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April 3, 2018
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Phoenix Neurologist gives "Sleep Pearls" for better living and sleep!

Neurologist Dr. Anderson's Sleep Pearls are practical ways for you to enjoy better sleep to aid in your neurology or sleep medicine treatment.

To make it easy to digest, we have broken it down hour by hour so you know exactly what to do to achieve better sleep and better treatment results.

Get ready for bed before 7:00 p.m.

  • Wake up the same time every day.
    • Only allow a 15-min variation. 6 am to 7 am preferred. Wake up to bright light. (If it is dark turn on the lights and make it bright) Exercise and Stretch in the morning Limit caffeinated beverages to 1-2 cups
  • Have regular meals and eat healthy
  • After 2 pm refrain from any caffeinated beverages or stimulating substances
  • After 6 pm refrain from exercise
  • Have your main meal at 6 pm.
  • After 7 pm … GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK – YOU’VE REACHED THE END OF YOUR DAY!
    • There is nothing you can do after 7 pm to help your situation. Remember the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

It's important, as a part of this to  accept the things you cannot change and find it comforting.  It’s not within your control so don’t worry about it. The worry is toxic to you and hurting you. Learn how to let it go and accept things out of your control.  

Don’t do the following after 7 pm:

  • Open mail
  • Discuss bills
  • Any work-related activities
  • Bank Accounts
  • Vacation Planning
  • Planning of any sort
  • Stressful conversation
  • Any stress or anxiety evoking event
  • Read Self-improvement books or philosophy. (This can be done in the morning.)

After 7:00 p.m. is a time for you to relax, wind down, and “turn off” emotionally.

Here are some activities you can enjoy without guilt - it's the doctor's orders!

  • Watch a movie or TV show
  • Read a pleasant book
  • Play board games
  • Help kids with homework

After 8:00 p.m. it's time to start getting ready for bed and relaxing.

  • Turn down the lights in the household
  • You can use night lights or small end table lamps
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Get in your comfortable pajamas
  • Watch a short TV program or read a fun article while having an enjoyable small snack
  • Have a small snack!
  • If you can tolerate dairy products, then use them. I prefer them. E.g. A small cup of cereal, cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt, etc.

9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. it's bedtime! Be sure to keep the following in mind as you prepare for bed.

  • Don't vary your bedtime by 30 minutes
  • Prepare the conditions
    • Cold. 68 degrees has been proven as the optimal sleep temperature. This could cause a problem when your bed partner likes it warmer or finds that 68 degrees is too cold.
    • The temperature should favor the cold. You can take a comforter and place it only on half the bed. The person who likes it warmer can dress appropriately and sleep with just a sheet on. The one who likes it colder can dress appropriately and sleep under the comforter or other bedding.
    • It is imperative that two people in a relationship try to sleep in the same bed. This helps bonding and is often a comfort.
  • Dark. Ensure the room is dark. You can use an eye mask as necessary.
  • Quiet. Ensure it is quiet in the house. You can use ear plugs as necessary.
  • Noise Maker. I prefer a floor fan that you can get for cheap. It makes a loud noise which is soothing to the brain. It drowns out any noises outside of your bedroom. You can use electronic devices, but I don’t prefer them as you could get notifications and alerts that would disturb sleep.
  • Limit stimulus
    • No TV
    • No Eating
    • No Listening to the Radio
    • No Arguing
    • No Computers
    • No Phones
    • No Electronic devices
    • No Worrying
    • No Writing
    • No Watching the clock
      • Watching the clock has been proven to increase anxiety. Don’t look at it!
  • Prepare the mind
    • Turn off the planning and thinking part of the brain.
    • How? By using the part of the brain that involves images and memories.
    • Find a pleasant emotional powered memory. You can find it either by your experiences that day or from the week. It could be of your children, friends, or family. Something that made you laugh or celebrate. You can get it from an album or social media picture. For example: I play tennis. There is always a shot that I make that is amazing to me. I remember that shot and play it over and over in my head like a movie. I can picture the tennis ball leaving my racquet and moving along its course for my great shot.
    • Another option: Find a pleasant environment. You can get a travel magazine and find a beautiful area you want to visit. When you sleep imagine yourself in that area.
  • Your bedroom should be a safe escape from the world and its problems. It should be used just for sleep, relaxation, and love.

You might be wondering, how much sleep should I have?

Here are some guidelines to follow for better sleep patterns:

  • For an active adult we recommend 7.5-8 hours of sleep.
  • As we age we need less sleep. Those over 65 years old may function well on 5 to 6.5 hours of sleep.
  • There are long sleepers and short sleepers that function well on less or more sleep.
    • For example, I require 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep. My wife requires 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep. She goes to bed earlier but we both wake up the same time.

What happens if you wake up in the middle of the night?

  • You shouldn’t keep watching the clock. This creates more anxiety
  • After 15 minutes of tossing and turning leave the bedroom
  • If you are worried you might forget what you were thinking of than write it down. Have a small snack
  • Prepare the mind as in Paragraph 8.c.
  • Return to bed after 15 minutes

Sleep is important yet often ignored and abused. It is essential to the body not only for performance and well-being but also for survival.

It is important that you treat it with high respect and lived a disciplined lifestyle to prepare for sleep.

With daily attention and discipline to this regiment you will soon train the brain and body how to sleep.

Have a good night my friends!