I grew up in a culture that believed that we could sleep when we were dead. Thankfully, my mom believed otherwise. Up until the age of 15, bedtime for my sister and me was 7:30 p.m. That served us well through college. But my relationship with sleep changed in dental school when late nights and even all-nighters became the norm.
When we lost a family member to sleep apnea, healthy sleep (good-quality sleep for 7-8 hours) took on new significance for me. It became the focal point of my family’s journey to a healthier lifestyle. It also became an important part of my dentistry, and I started incorporating sleep disorder screenings into my practice. (Sleep health and dental health are connected, after all.)
I now know and understand that getting a good night’s rest starts from the minute I wake up. From practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and journaling; to making sure I get enough sunlight and respect my circadian rhythm; to nourishing my body with healthy foods and water, there are many pieces to the sleep puzzle.
As a peri-menopausal woman, I am also learning to respect hormonal ebbs and flows and their impact on my sleep. Tracking my sleep with my Oura ring and creating the ideal sleep environment for me and my body has been key.