This time of year I’m always excited about the changing colors of the leaves, the cooler weather, and, of course, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s not even officially fall and my favorite coffee drink is already here!
If you’re like me you can’t get through a day without coffee, and we’re not alone: 64% of adults in the U.S. drink at least one cup of coffee a day, according to a recent Gallup poll. Those who consider themselves coffee drinkers have just under three cups.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night after all of those PSLs, then you might want to know this: limiting your caffeine intake after 2 p.m. can help you catch more zzz’s.
My colleagues and I at the Comprehensive Sleep Care Center have some other tips for you to get more sleep:
1. Turn off the TV and any other lighted screens such as iPads, cell phones and e-readers in your bedroom at night. Researchers found watching or reading on screens at night can suppress the release of melatonin (a hormone linked to sleeping) for an hour and a half. People then had a harder time falling to sleep and waking up.
2. Keep your pet out of the bedroom. Skippy and Spot won’t be able to ‘hog’ the bed space. Sorry, doggies!
3. Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed at night and waking up in the morning at the same general times keeps our circadian clock in rhythm.
4. Sleep in a dark, aesthetically appealing, cool room. A sleep mask may help.
5. Look for signs of sleep apnea. Signs include loud snoring, waking up gasping for air, feeling fatigued during the day, being overweight, breathing through your mouth at night. Type-2 diabetes, hypertension or heart problems may also be signs of sleep apnea.
6. Seek professional help. If you’ve tried to improve your sleep without much success, then contact a sleep medicine physician for a consultation.
Learn more about sleep deprivation and sleep’s impact on your health here.
Dr. Charu Sabharwal is the Medical Director at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center in the D.C. area and the mother of two young boys. Dr. Sabharwal and CSCC have extensive knowledge in sleep and how it impacts health for people of all ages. If you’d like to know more about ways to improve your sleep, the latest on sleep in the news, or about sleep studies, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Sabharwal is available for interviews.