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Sleep specialist: Consistent bedtime routines cultivate quality sleep

Sleep Medicine Specialist Dr. Krishna Mettu explains the importance of planning for healthy sleep throughout the day.

March is Sleep Health Month and doctors say following a consistent bedtime routine is key to cultivating a good night's rest.

KRCG 13 talked with SSM Health Sleep Specialist Dr. Krishna Mettu about how to create a bed-time routine that fits your family's needs.

Dr. Mettu said we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping. "It’s one of the basic needs of the body like water, food and air," he said. "The ill effects of sleep can accumulate over day to day, week to week, and year to year."

Dr. Mettu said that’s why creating a bed time routine that works for you and your family is critical.

“Part of a successful sleep equation is avoiding certain things before bedtime,” he said. “Things like caffeine, vigorous exercise, stressful work, or alcohol can get in the way of sleeping well. For example, alcohol will start to initiate sleep, but it can disrupt sleep later in the night.”

Another crucial element of a good bedtime routine is maintaining your sleep/wake cycle, according to Dr. Mettu. He said shifting your bed time or wake-up time too drastically or taking too many naps can impede healthy sleep habits.

Dr. Metttu also explained that not all naps are created equally: “Actually a short nap in elderly people is not a bad idea, it is called a siesta,” he said. “Any siesta lasting between 15 to 20 minutes is a good nap time. Some of the logic behind that is the more a person spends for the nap, the person gets into a deeper sleep and it takes a longer for them to wake up.”

Dr. Mettu said proper sleep hygiene requires planning throughout the day – so this March, try to wind down a little earlier, make sure your naps aren't too long, and keep your alarm set to around the same time every morning. Dr. Mettu said there’s a good chance you'll find yourself waking up on the right side of the bed more often as a result.

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