10 things you need to know before going to bed

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, but a few simple tips and good habits can help decrease the risk. Here are 10 good habits to get into before going to bed. Do you know them all?

1.Go to sleep at the right time. When? Listen to your body for signs like yawning, loss of concentration, sore or tired eyes… Otherwise, you might miss an 1H30 sleep cycle. Besides, a regular bedtime is better for your health.

2.Create a cool environment that promotes sleep. Turn down the lights, as well as the music, the noise, activity in general… Warn your body that the time has come to get some rest. It will completely understand and give you the right biological response: sleep hormones.

3.Stop getting excited. Alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, tea, sodas, active sports, screens and video games all act to stimulate your brain, which is not good for your sleep! So give your brain a rest, well before going to bed. Usual medical advice suggests no coffee after mid-afternoon, for example.

4.Don’t take sleeping pills before going to sleep if you suffer from sleep apnea.

5.Digestion is bad for a good night’s sleep. Try to eat at least two hours before you plan to go to bed, especially after a meal high in fat, which takes longer to digest.

6.Assume an upright position. When lying in bed, spend some time with your feet up to ease the venous return. In this position, the flow of blood circulates in the veins and moves better towards the heart and the brain, which will help calm you down. When it comes to sleep, choose a position on your side, as sleeping on your back allows gravity to pull on the tissues at the back of your throat and neck.

7.Practice breathing exercises. Deep and slow breathing exercises will help you cool down. A famous one is called 4/7/8: 4 seconds of inhalation, followed by 7 seconds of holding your breath and 8 seconds of exhalation. Repeat around 5 times and you might just drift off!

8.Organize the next day in your head. For some people, work can be particularly stressful when they don’t know what the next day will bring. Visualizing and planning ahead can be a good way to manage stress and avoid sleeplessness.

9.Have you tried essential oils? Put some essential oil of chamomile or lavender in a diffuser and let your mind and body relax and unwind.

10.All you need is love. Last but not least, some sleep apnea sufferers - as well as sleep disorder sufferers and many couples - advise having a warm hug to finish the day… It surely won’t do you any harm!