Common Sleep Mistakes

polysomnographic technology

It's a human malady so common, there's an entire health care field devoted to it. Polysomnographic Technology, which Concorde teaches at four of its campuses, deals with sleep technology, or sleep medicine. Millions of people around the world suffer from sleep disorders that keep them from getting enough sleep at night. They, in turn, suffer throughout their days, struggling to stay awake and/or alert at their jobs or at school.

While Polysomnographic Technology deals with more complicated internal issues which interrupt sleep, such as sleep apnea, there are more common mistakes people make which rob them from a good night's rest. These are typically more minor but can be just as insidious and disruptive to peoples' lives.

We want all of our Concorde students, faculty, associates and alumni to get their restive, required sleep. So, we sought out advice from some of our resident experts about what some of these common sleep mistakes are and what folks can do to curb them.

Polysomnographic Technology: Common sleep mistakes

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine lists seven signs you might not be getting enough sleep.

  • Dependence on an alarm clock to wake up
  • Feeling drowsy while driving
  • Drinking caffeine all day to stay alert
  • Making mistakes at work or school
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling depressed
  • Getting sick, catching colds

If you experience any of these, you might be able to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by avoiding some common sleep mistakes, according to Laura SchmedlenKennedy, RPSGT, Polysomnographic Technology Program Director at Concorde's campus in Portland, Ore.

Mistake No. 1 - Using electronics close to bedtime or in bed

Put away phones and iPads, turn off TVs and computers at least an hour before bedtime. If you have devices in your bedroom, make sure they are silenced after lights out. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 90 percent of people in the U.S. admit to using a technological device during the hour before bed. The blue light that these devices emit suppresses the release of melatonin and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.

Mistake No. 2 - Too much caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and can make it difficult to fall asleep, so don't drink any coffee, green tea or caffeinated soda after midday.

Mistake No. 3 - Too much alcohol

Although alcohol might help you fall asleep faster, it will produce more disruptions to sleep during the second half of the night. It can also reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. Decreased time in REM can leave you feeling groggy in the morning. Limit alcoholic drinks to one or two a few hours before bedtime.

More common sleep mistakes

Mistake No. 4 - Too much stress

Stress can cause insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Get exercise in the morning, take time before bed to do something quiet and relaxing like reading or meditating (with no electronics).

Mistake No. 5 - Exercising strenuously in the evening

Strenuous exercise in the evening can be stimulating and raise body temperature which makes it harder to fall asleep. Work out at least three hours before bedtime.

Mistake No. 6 - Irregular sleep schedule

An irregular bedtime can disturb the circadian rhythm. Go to bed at the same time and wake up around eight hours later, at the same time every day.

Chris Lockhart, Polysomnographic Technology Program Director at Concorde's Memphis campus, Tenn., pointed to a prominent sleep physician who was once quoted as saying, "Your bed is for just two things and two things alone. Sleeping and procreation." If you stick to this practice, your brain and body become conditioned to relate your bed with the things you commonly do while in it.

Pleasant dreams!

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