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VIDEO: Five tips to improve your sleep

Dr. Wayne Lai is a neurologist and a sleep specialist at the Tranq Sleep Institute in Kelowna. We managed to get some free and helpful advice from Dr. Lai ahead of World Sleep Day which is Mar. 19.

People spend close to a third of their lives sleeping. According to Dr. Wayne Lai, it only stands to reason that it's very important that we make the most of it.

"People who don't sleep well will have significant cognitive decline throughout the day," said Dr. Lai. "That can lead to all sorts of negative impacts such as increasing your risk of having a car accident or reduced work performance."

And it doesn't stop there. "It can also lead to a higher risk of heart attack or stroke," he added.

Dr. Lai said increased urbanization and the advent of electronic devices are adding to the sleep deprivation problem and it's getting worse.

"I would say 25 and maybe up to 50% of us are at some point, sleep-deprived."

<who> Photo Credit: 123rf

Here are five ways you can improve your sleep.

1. Establish a regular sleep schedule

Dr. Lai suggests going to bed at a certain time and get up at a certain time.

Without that fixed schedule, he says your body gets confused and doesn't know what to do when you're trying to sleep.

2. Avoid exposure to electronics prior to bedtime

It's the blue spectrum light, according to Dr. Lai, that inhibits the release of sleep hormones.

So put away your smartphone and avoid the television immediately before you go to bed.

3. Take time to unwind

Give yourself at least 1-2 hours to unwind before bedtime, suggests Dr. Lai.

Use this transitional period to read, listen to music or simply relax.

4. Set aside your worries

Dr. Lai suggests writing down the things that worry you and think about solutions earlier in the day rather than trying to sort them out at bedtime.

5. Learn to relax

"Stress and anxiety can be a big part of an insomnia problem", said Dr. Lai.

Look for relaxation exercises to reduce physical tension and eliminate intrusive thoughts and worries.

<who>Photo credit: 123rf </who>

Dr. Lai said his clinic helps patients achieve what he calls "good sleep hygiene". And he helps him get there through cognitive behavioural therapy.

"That is to retrain their behaviour so that they can do things that will help them to fall asleep better and also maintain their sleep better."

The Tranq Sleep Care is located at Sopa Square, on Pandosy in Kelowna.

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