May is “Better Sleep Month”, so you deserve to know how sleep can affect your oral health and how to sleep more soundly. According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, lack of sleep is the second-most common lifestyle contributor to poor oral health, behind only smoking. Researchers found that people who get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night are less likely to have progressed periodontal disease than people who sleep for six or fewer hours. But how can you make sure to get as much sleep as possible?
Try establishing a routine at night that includes some sort of relaxing activity. Taking a warm bath or reading a light novel before bed both help relax your mind and prepare you for rest. It’s important to avoid exercising and using the computer or TV before bed because these activities will not easily allow your mind to relax. That’s why people who watch TV in bed typically have a harder time falling asleep – the stimulation from the light makes it difficult to rest their eyes. For this reason, try keeping your room dark, slightly cool, and comfortable. Having a space that is reserved for sleep instead of work or other activities will train your body to automatically start unwinding in that space.
Finally, do whatever you can to cut down on stress in your life. Stress often leads to insomnia, and is also another lifestyle factor that can negatively impact your periodontal health. For both of these reasons, you will stay healthier when your mind is free of the day’s stressors. Everyone has a different method for relaxing, so find one that works for you and do it daily. It will work wonders for both your oral and total-body health.