Have you been having trouble getting a good night sleep? Do you feel tired all day only to be unable to fall asleep at night? Do you toss and turn throughout the night leaving you exhausted in the morning? There are many potential causes of disrupted sleep but luckily there are some things we can do to increase our chances of a good night’s sleep.
To improve the likelihood of getting a restful sleep, start with improving your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is incorporating positive habits into your lifestyle that prime your body and mind for a restorative sleep. Some of these tips can be used as you are crawling in bed, but others can be applied throughout the day to get yourself ready for rest.
Things to consider during the day:
- Get active. Getting exercise can have a dramatic effect on the quality of your sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic activity can be beneficial to sleeping. Try going for a walk or bike ride to ensure a good night’s sleep. For many, participating in high intensity exercise directly before bed can have a negative effect on sleep, so if you’re planning a strenuous workout, try to do it earlier in the day.
- Avoid long naps. While a short 20-30 minute nap will likely improve your focus and productivity, they are not adequate to make up for a lost night of sleep. So if you need the little mid-day boost try to keep your nap short so you won’t be up all night.
- Get outdoors. Getting natural sunlight during the day can also help reinforce a good sleep cycle. If you work indoors and don’t spend much time outside, try to carve time out during your day to soak up a few rays.
Things to consider during the evening:
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. They stimulate your mind and body before bed making it harder for you to relax and catch some zzz’s.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. Although alcohol is a depressant and may make it easier to fall asleep, once your body starts to process the alcohol in the middle of the night it can cause sleep disruptions.
- Avoid foods that can interrupt sleep. Greasy, heavy, rich, fatty, and spicy foods can all affect the quality of your sleep, as can citrus fruits and carbonated drinks. These foods commonly cause heartburn, which can wake you up in the night.
Things to consider right before bedtime:
- Make a bedtime routine. This can help you mentally prepare to hit the hay. Your routine should include activities that are calming such as taking a shower or bath, reading, doing light stretches or having a relaxed conversation with a loved one.
- Keep calm. Try to avoid activities or conversations that you find stressful or aggravating during your bedtime routine as they can make it harder to relax and fall asleep.
- Avoid screen time before bed. The lights emitted by screens, including our cellphones, computers, and televisions, all decrease melatonin (a hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle) making it harder to fall asleep. In addition, the content on our screens is generally stimulating, resulting in keeping our brains alert when they should be winding down. Being on our phones also increases the likelihood of putting us in a negative mood as we see a work email or our to do list just before laying down to sleep.
- Create a good sleep environment. Having a comfortable bed, a good pillow, and enough blankets can all ensure that laying in your bed us as pleasant and relaxing as possible. Keeping the bedroom a cool temperature can also encourage restful sleep. Limiting the amount of light in your room is important; so turn off all lights, close the blinds and if necessary wear a sleep mask to block out all light. Creating ambient sound can also help some people relax, especially those who live in loud neighbourhoods or live with people on different schedules. Fans and white noise machines can both provide the perfect amount of background noise to help you snooze.
So before you suffer through another bad night’s sleep try improving your sleep hygiene and see how much better you’ll feel tomorrow after a night of deep slumber.
If you need more help – reach out to us at Williams Chiropractic and we can chat if one of our sleep promoting supplements (Melatonin, Reloraplex, or Best Rest) could be right for you!
National Sleep Foundation