Do you like to sleep? I know I do. When I found out that sleeping less than 8 hours a night could make gum disease worse, I committed on the spot to going that extra mile and sleeping longer.
Researchers say if you sleep less than 6 hours a night, you could be hurting your oral health. They believe that a lack of sleep suppresses your immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria. Since gum disease is a bacterial infection, it makes sense that gum disease progression will be greater in those who sleep less.
So in the name of oral health (and National Sleep Better Month) here are 5 tips to help you sleep better.
- Go to bed and get up at the same times every day.
This helps your body get into a routine and it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up after a while.
- Develop a sleep ritual that you do every night.
Wash your face, brush your teeth and floss in the same order every night. The same routine can cue your body that bedtime is approaching.
- Begin to unwind earlier.
You don’t want the day’s stresses to keep you awake once you get into bed. Keep a notebook by your bed to write down your worries and clear your mind before turning in.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
Did you eat a heavy dinner really late? Did you drink a soda not too long before crawling into bed? Feeling stuffed can make you so uncomfortable that you don’t sleep well. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that can keep you awake, and too much water or liquids before bed can wake you in the night with trips to the bathroom.
- Start exercising.
Regular physical activity promotes better sleep and can help you fall asleep quicker. Beware of exercising right before bed though; it may get you too jazzed up!
Now that you have these handy tips, turn out the lights and get some sleep.