Week 7: Evening Behaviors

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This week we’ll continue to give you actionable advice to help you have a better night, so you can feel great the next day, because good days start with good nights! We’ll also highlight the SleepScore App features that help you wind down before bed and wake up refreshed in the morning for a better tomorrow.
  • Warming your body and allowing it to cool down before bedtime can help you relax and increase deep sleep. Just make sure the temperature is comfortable to you!
  • Did you know? In general, men prefer to be cool and women prefer to be warmer while sleeping, but of course there are exceptions! If you share a bed with a partner, consider separate blankets to keep everyone sleeping at their optimal temperature.
  • Breathing happens naturally, so the idea of practicing it might sound silly. But many people have developed the habit of shallow breathing. The good news is you can re-learn how to breathe deeply.
  • Practice taking slow, deep breaths. A key to relaxation is to take plenty of time as you exhale. Enjoy the feeling of relaxation that comes with letting go of tension as you breathe out. This can help you fall asleep and feel better during the day too.
  • Focus your attention on specific muscle groups from your head down to your feet. Tense each muscle for a few seconds, then let it all go. Notice the contrast between the uncomfortable feeling of tension compared to how good it feels to relax.
  • This technique is called progressive muscle relaxation. With practice, you’ll be able to relax your body whenever you want.
  • Develop a routine that you follow before lights out each night (ex. brush teeth, use bathroom, read for 15 minutes). As it becomes a ritual, your mind and body will begin to relax as you prepare for bed.
  • SleepScore App Tip: Before bed, use the Good Night Assistant feature in the app.
  • Going to bed at the same time, along with waking up at the same time, truly does wonders for your sleep. This is because your body loves routine! Over time, you’ll start to feel a natural trigger to go to bed at your scheduled bedtime.
  • To feel your best, stick with this consistent bedtime and wake-up time on the weekends too!
  • If you want to use a tablet or smartphone before bed to help you wind down, turn on its blue light filter and dim the screen. Adjust the settings so it won’t ring or vibrate.
  • Try this tip: Program Do Not Disturb mode to start at your regular bedtime or, even better, one hour earlier. That way you won’t be tempted to look at notifications or respond to messages before bed.
  • During light sleep, you’re more responsive to your environment, and therefore it’s the stage of sleep during which you’re more likely to wake up compared to the other stages. Light sleep is the ideal sleep stage to wake up from in the morning, because you’ll feel less groggy.
  • SleepScore App Tip: Try the Smart Alarm feature in the app. The Smart Alarm is designed to wake you up during light sleep, within the time window you select. This sets you up for a more rested and energized morning.
As you continue following the Better Sleep Program, be sure to keep checking out the lifestyle advice in the Sleep Guide of the SleepScore App to get the most personalized insights based on your sleep. You can always change your sleep goal to focus on new areas of sleep improvement.

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Here are the answers to last week’s quiz!
Question 1: Which behavior can help you get a good night sleep?
Answer: Exercise early in the day, finish dinner on time, and turn off email notifications at night.
Question 2: True or False? Getting enough sleep can help you manage your weight.
Answer: True
Question 3: The maximum units of alcohol you can drink with relatively low risks to disrupting your sleep is ____.
Answer: 2
Have sleep questions?

Want to ask your own question about sleep? You can write it here anonymously. During the upcoming weeks of the program, look out for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Q: Do you recommend any natural and/or non-addictive medications for sleep?
A: Actually no. Not that these do not exist, but they are not studied well, so many of the results are inconclusive or just lacking. Some compounds that claim to help you relax might also work for sleep. Two commonly used medications that are widely available are melatonin and antihistamines. Melatonin should only be used for fighting jet lag. You should first consult your doctor if melatonin could work for you (only with a melatonin deficiency). Antihistamines make you drowsy but can have negative health effects with long term use.
Q: What are the reasons for waking up too early and what can be done?
A: This is a pretty common complaint and is called a sleep maintenance problem. If it impacts your daytime functioning, it is recommended to visit your doctor. For some people it helps to get out of bed, do some other activity (not vigorous: reading, watching TV, listening to a radio show or podcast) and then go back to bed when feeling a bit tired. Make sure you’re feeling comfortably warm when trying to doze off again.
It might also indicate that you’re trying to sleep longer than you need or that you are actually an early bird and should consider going to bed earlier. Although it might not be clear what the cause is, these are some options to consider.
Q: What helps effectively against snoring? Can snoring be dangerous for your health?
A: There are several effective interventions for snoring, ranging from mouthpieces, to nose strips, to positional pillows, and even apps that work. What will work best for you depends on your type of snoring and your personal preference. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, and the types of snoring interventions listed here will likely not solve sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can have very serious long-term health consequences, so visit a medical professional to make sure your snoring is not an apnea symptom.

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