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How to get a better night’s sleep​

Why is sleep important

We all know how a good night sleep can make us feel great but is also plays a vital role in improving our over health and wellbeing.

It is now known that the average person needs to get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. But how many of us actually get that? With the influences of modern daily life stressors, many people are finding it harder to get to sleep, or are finding it difficult to stay asleep.

Poor sleep can have immediate effects on our health from fatigue and decrease productivity but research shows that getting poor quality sleep long term, increases the risk of disorders such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. (2)

It is especially important in our children as it plays a vital role in their overall health and development.

Tips to get a better sleep

Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.

Light is crucial for our everyday life it helps regulate our body clocks to help regulate our sleeping patterns and helps with nature and growth so red-light exposure from the sun can be very helpful. But more artificial light like blue light can be quite harmful to us. Blue light occupies the highest energy portion of the visible spectrum. It penetrates all the way to the retina in the back of the eye.  Artificial blue light before bed reduces the amount of melatonin being released in the body. Not enough melatonin can mess up our circadian rhythm and can prevent sleep and lead to exhaustion.

To combat this turning on a blue light filter on your phone can help reduce this at night.  Special blue light glasses can also be used to reduce this light.

Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

Caffeine has some great benefits throughout the day, like helping us get out of bed in the morning. But consuming too much throughout the day or in the afternoon can stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Its recommended to reduce your caffeine intake to 1-2 cups per day and to not drink any after 4pm to allow your body enough time to relax and get ready for bed.

Create a good sleep hygiene

Creating a healthy environment to sleep in can be important to getting a great night sleep. Consistency is key so making sure we go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time can assist in getting your body into a circadian rhythm. Making sure that the room is at the right temperature and the room is dark enough can also help.

Create a sleep ritual

You can develop your own rituals of things to remind your body that it is time to sleep – some people find it useful to do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed each night, or sit calmly with a cup of tea (camomile is best).

Avoid daily naps

It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for less than an hour and before 3pm.

Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet

A healthy, balanced diet will help you to sleep well, but timing is important. Some people find that a very empty stomach at bedtime is distracting, so it can be useful to have a light snack, but a heavy meal soon before bed can also interrupt sleep.

Take a good quality magnesium supplement

Magnesium is responsible for over 600 reactions within your body and has a range of health benefits. Magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality. Ask your chiropractor or naturopath if you would like to know more about this.  

Exercise

Exercising every day is important to maintain our overall health but did you know it can also help you get a good night sleep. People that exercise everyday note significantly improved sleep quality while also reducing daytime sleepiness and depressive symptoms. 3 Thus, exercise may hold the most promise for those with more severe or more chronic sleep disturbance.

Try meditation

Meditation has a range of health benefits from reducing anxiety and depression, improving our self-worth to relaxation of muscle tension and improving our sleeping patterns. Meditation every night before we go to bed can aid in our body’s relaxation and help switch of our overthinking as our head hits the pillow. There are plenty of free or paid apps that you can get on your phone to help with this. Personally, I Love insight timer as it has a range of different types of meditation on it depending on what you need it for. But calm, headspace and smiling mind are other great apps as well.

Get a comfortable pillow and mattress

Sleeping on a bad mattress or pillow can be quite harmful to our posture and health. Generally speaking, a firm mattress is best to help support your spine and making sure that you have a contour-based pillow that has different heights on each side is best to ensure your head and neck is supported while you sleep.  — Ask your chiropractor about this if you want to know more.

If you liked these tips and want to learn more and how chiropractic can benefit you contact our office or pop in and come say hello to one of our friendly chiropractors.

1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#The-bottom-line

2. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

3. Reid KJ, Baron KG, Lu B, Naylor E, Wolfe L, Zee PC. Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia. Sleep Med. 2010;11:934–940

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