Thanksgiving is almost here and you know what that means…food. And since we all know food affects sleep, we’ve gathered some tips to help get through this special holiday.
1) Eat sleepy foods wisely. By now, we’ve all heard tryptophan in turkey increases your urge to sleep. What you may not know is the carbs you’re eating will give you a sugar high and a sugar low, associated with that post dinner food-coma. Energy swings caused by too many carbohydrates have been associated with certain health problems down the road, like diabetes. Avoid the unwanted highs and lows by easing up on the dinner rolls and mashed potatoes.
2) Don’t over consume alcohol. While a nightcap might sound nice, alcohol will actually hurt the quality of your sleep. If you happen to indulge, consider drinking a little less, or add in a glass of water between cocktails. It’s recommended to finish your last drink about 4 hours before bed to give your body a chance to metabolize the alcohol before sleeping.
3) Respond to your needs. If your CPAP isn’t cutting it, consider an APAP, which monitors your breathing and sets the air pressure to the optimal value within a set range. Something as simple as having a cold or consuming alcohol can narrow your airways, requiring more air pressure from you machine which an APAP can accommodate. An APAP, which you can get with the prescription for an CPAP, can respond to that temporary need.
4) Eat slowly. If you down your first helping of food in under five minutes, your brain won’t have time to realize it’s full. Give your brain a chance to register the meal while you enjoy the company of family and friends.
5) Go lean-ish. Try sticking more to breast meat, which has less fat than the thighs and legs of the turkey. Don’t skimp on the green beans, spinach, or other vitamin and fiber loaded food on the table.
6) Drink water with your meal. Staying hydrated will help with everything from managing your appetite to preventing dry eyes. Timing is everything. Drink water before and during your meal to help pace your eating. If you try to compensate by chugging a glass before bedtime, you’ll likely end up waking up a few hours later.
7) Go out and play. The kind of exhaustion you get from physical activity — say playing a game of flag football in the neighborhood park — will give you the most rewarding sleep. Work out early in the day so you have time to wind down after the big meal.
8) Stop stressing out. Whether you’re worried about the cramped quarters or the cracks in the pumpkin pie, relax. Thanksgiving is about pausing to appreciate what you’ve got — even if it’s slightly dried out turkey. Before turning in, take account of the things that make your life good. Putting yourself in a positive frame of mind before bed will help you get to sleep and stay asleep on Thanksgiving and year-round.
9) Wash your hands. With groups of people indoors, the holidays mark an uptick in cold and flu bugs. If you’re a nasal or a nasal pillow mask user (and most people are), you might find therapy lags when you have a cold. Why? If your nose is stuffy, you may be opening your mouth in your sleep, lessening the pressure you need to receive. We recommend keeping a full face mask on hand, this type of mask covers your mouth and your nose, which will ensure you still get pressurized air, even if you nose is clogged.
10) Watch a parade. A CPAP.com parade! This won’t help you sleep, but it’s fun. We’ve used a CPAP to inflate all sorts of products. The blow up turkey was a particular favorite. Check in on Thursday for the full parade!
Aaron McCann has been working in the CPAP industry for nearly five years researching and learning about the latest and greatest in CPAP therapy and equipment. Aaron is committed to helping the CPAP community achieve better sleep and a better quality of life!