Understand the relationship between lifestyle and sleep quality
Have a healthy diet
Avoid eating snacks and junk food (industrialized foods). And swap your dessert for a healthier food, like a piece of fruit.
Prepare a shopping list before going to the supermarket (and try to follow it faithfully).
Modify your home cooking habits to consume a greater variety of foods, using seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as reducing the use of oils and fats. You can find healthy recipes on the internet.
Prepare several meals in advance. This is called “batch cooking”. Thus, there are no excuses for escaping the regular diet and resorting to fast and caloric foods.
When it comes to reducing alcohol consumption to improve sleep quality, you should:
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages as much as possible; and when drinking, do not consume more than two glasses(10).
- If so, change the habit of drinking alone.
- Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you consume.
- Meet your friends/family in cafes instead of bars.
Practice physical activityRegular physical activities can effectively help you to improve your sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and make your sleep deeper, reducing the number of times you wake up per hour, and can also decrease episodes of apnea and hypopnea. (14)
Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can help you lose weight and reduce the severity of your sleep apnea. Overweight people may have fatty tissue buildup in the throat, which makes it easier to block airflow.
It's not easy, but it will make a big difference to your body and your quality of life. (15)
- Keep your hands busy;
- Keep your home and car smoke-free;
- Download an app to help you quit smoking;
- Set aside the money you save by not smoking and giving yourself a gift;
- Identify the moments you associate with smoking, and then change that ritual. For example, drink tea instead of coffee, and take a 5-minute walk instead of a coffee break.
- Seek professional help if needed – you're four times more likely to quit smoking when you get expert help. (12.13)
Take the first step and seek professional help. You can!!!
Adopt good sleep hygiene
“Sleep hygiene” means adopting habits that improve the quality of sleep. This includes paying attention to:
- Avoid using cell phones and television before bed;
- What you do (and what you avoid doing) before you go to sleep;
- Create an environment in your room that is conducive to relaxation;
- Daily routine, such as getting enough exercise and sunbathing.
Everyone, including children, needs enough sleep to function and perform at their best, and good sleep hygiene can play a crucial role in achieving this goal. There are numerous habits that can improve the quality of your sleep. Check out!
Improved sleep health
Everyone is different, and you may need to experiment a bit until you find the sleep hygiene routine that works best for you.
Focus on perseverance rather than the idea of success or failure. Remember that even small changes make a big difference and add up to promote greater transformations over time. Each and every effort will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and get real benefits in your everyday life!
- Avoid afternoon naps – they can make it difficult to fall asleep later.
- Manage your caffeine intake – caffeine is a stimulant, so avoid consuming it later in the day;
- Reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages – sleep can be disturbed when the effects of alcoholic beverages wear off;
- Be consistent – regular waking and sleeping times, even on weekends, help establish good quality sleep.
- Physical activities – regular exercise improves sleep quality. Try to stay physically active every day, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as your body needs time to relax;
- Quit smoking – nicotine is a stimulant and raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Smoking is also associated with sleep disorders and may be a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Even reducing the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day can help; (18)
- Expose yourself to natural light every morning – light, especially sunlight, which helps regulate your body's circadian rhythms. The exact amount to get the best benefit is not known, but between 30 and 45 minutes is usually recommended. (17)
Before going to sleep
- Turn off electronic devices 30-60 minutes before bedtime;
- Use sleeping pills only under medical prescription and guidance; (7)
- Follow a routine – following the same steps every night (such as turning off the TV, putting on your pajamas and brushing your teeth) reinforces the fact that it's time for bed.
- Relax – limit physical and mental activities at least 30 minutes before bed so your body and mind begin to relax. Try stretching gently, reading something light, or listening to relaxing music;
- Avoid eating close to bedtime – so your body isn't working to digest food while you're trying to fall asleep. Try to have your last meal at least two to three hours before bed.
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows and quality bedding;
- Make sure your room is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature;
- Create a mental association between your bedroom and sleep by limiting bedroom activities to sleep and sexual activity only.
- Only go to bed when you're tired – if you don't feel sleepy at bedtime, do something relaxing, like reading a physical book, until you feel sleepy.
- If you're not sleepy after 20 minutes, or you wake up during the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep, don't stay in bed feeling frustrated. Instead, get up and do something that helps you feel calm and relaxed, like listening to classical music until you feel sleepy again.
1 La Fondation du Souffle. La lettre du souffle – Bulletin de liaison des amis du Comité contre les Maladies Respiratoires. N°50
2 Crispin CA et al. Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. J Clin Sleep Med. December 15, 2011;7(6):659-64
3 Bonnet MH et al. Caffeine use as a model of acute and chronic insomnia. Sleep. December 1992;15(6):526-36
14 Feige B et al. Effects of alcohol on polysomnographically recorded sleep in healthy subjects. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. September 2006;30(9):1527-37
5 Krishnan V et al. Where there is smoke…there is sleep apnea: exploring the relationship between smoking and sleep apnea. Chest. December 2014;146(6):1673-1680
7 Jullian-Desayes I et al. Impact of concomitant medications on obstructive sleep apnoea. Br J Clin Pharmacol. April 2017;83(4):688-708
8 Platt LM et al. Nonpharmacological Alternatives to Benzodiazepine Drugs for the Treatment of Anxiety in Outpatient Populations: A Literature Review. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. August 1, 2016;54(8):35-42
9 Cowie MR. Sleep apnea: State of the art. Trends Cardiovasc Med. May 2017;27(4):280-289
10 European Commission. Food-based dietary guidelines in Europe. Table 16: Summary of FBDG recommendations for water for the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Available on the European Commission website: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/health-knowledge-gateway/promotion-preventi…
11 Hall KA et al. Physical activity is associated with a reduced prevalence of self-reported obstructive sleep apnea in a large, general population cohort study. J Clin Sleep Med. July 15, 2020;16(7):1179-1187
12 National Health Service – Royaume-Unis. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/10-self-help-tips-to-stop-smo…
13 Chaiton M et al. Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers. BMJ Open. June 9, 2016;6(6):e011045
14 Weight loss, breathing devices still best for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Posted October 02, 2013, 1:54 PM Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch, available http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/weight-loss-breathing-devices-still-… , accessed at 05/25/2015. 1
15 Losing weight with sleep apnea, Ask the expert, National Sleep Foundation
16 Norman JF et al. Exercise training effect on Obstructive Sleep Apnea syndrome, Sleep Research Online: SRO, 2000, 3(3):121-129.
17 Peters, B. (July 23, 2020). Get Morning Sunlight and You'll Sleep Better. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/morning-sunlight-exposure-3973908#
18 Deleanu OC et al. Influence of smoking on sleep and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Pulmonology (Bucharest, Romania) vol. 65.1 (2016): 28-35.
19 Peters, B. (2020, July 23). Get Morning Sunlight and You'll Sleep Better. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/morning-sunlight-exposure-3973908#