Getting good sleep is important for good health, making it part of the lifestyle medicine approach. Sleep deprivation (when someone sleeps less than six hours per night for several weeks) can contribute to hypertension.
Let your health care provider know if you often have trouble sleeping. A number of issues can disrupt sleep, including sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and general sleeplessness (insomnia). Finding and treating the cause is important.
However, if you don’t have a diagnosed condition, follow these simple tips for getting more restful sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Try to keep the same schedule on weeknights and weekends.
- Create a restful space. That means keeping the sleeping space cool, quiet, and dark. Do something relaxing in the hour before bedtime. That might include taking a warm bath or doing relaxation exercises. Avoid the bright light from TVs and computer screens.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. Avoid large meals close to bedtime. Limit or avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime as well.
- Limit naps. For those who find napping during the day helpful, limiting naps to 30 minutes earlier in the day may help with nighttime sleep.
Read about other ways lifestyle medicine can help you prevent hypertension:
- Hypertension prevention tip #1: Love people
- Hypertension prevention tip #2: Eat plants
- Hypertension prevention tip #3: Keep moving
Dr. Joan Hunter is an internist at Vancouver Clinic. She enjoys working with patients to help them make small changes that lead to better wellness. She has a special interest in women’s health and lifestyle medicine.