Sleep. Most of us could do with more of it, or better quality for the time we get. Anyone, at any age can improve their sleep, even kids can benefit from the tips outlined below (although I hope #7 doesn’t apply!!). More restful sleep is within your reach, follow our steps to maximise your sleep.
1. Go to bed when you get tired.
Seems obvious right? Yet most of us will push through that sleepy feeling, reaching for a sugary treat or deciding to watch one more episode. Notice when you get tired and go to bed when that hits, don’t push through (notice how you feel about 10pm)
2. Reduce light and noise in your bedroom.
With almost everyone experiencing stress, we become extra sensitive to light and noise because your body is on high alert for danger. Try to remove as much stimulus from your room as you can, blocking out streetlights, covering bright alarm clock faces, even nightlights can be too much for some people. Noise is harder to reduce, consider earplugs if your situation allows.
3. No devices/screens 2 hours before bed, no screens in the bedroom.
This is a big one. Screens emit blue light, which convinces your brain that it must still be daytime. This can alter your bodies sleep hormone production and make it very difficult to get to sleep. While it may seem drastic, turning off the TV and putting away the devices 2 hours before bed can help your body to regulate itself properly and increase the quality of your sleep. If this is too ‘middle ages’ for you, you can try using blue light blocking glasses, and blue light filters on screens, but it is best to avoid screens altogether if you’re having difficulty with sleep. If you need help changing your settings, have a look at the end of the post for links.
4. No eating 3 hours before bed.
Going to bed on a full stomach can impact sleep quality and sleep hormone production, so it is best to give yourself a buffer of a few hours if you can.
5. Use a posture correction device before bed.
To help calm your nervous system and relieve some stress, you can use a posture correction device for 15 mins before bed. This simple exercise helps to calm your brain and down regulate your fight or flight response, which can help you get a more restful nights sleep.
6. Take your magnesium.
Magnesium has been shown to help with relaxation and quality of sleep, as well as reducing muscle spasm and night cramping. An amazing supplement that can improve many aspects of your life, magnesium supplements can help support healthy sleep.
7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Alcohol can contribute to increased snoring and sleep apnoea, and has been shown to affect night-time melatonin production, the hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that will keep you awake and can remain in your bloodstream for 6 to 8 hours after consumption, so watch your caffeine intake especially in the afternoon.
8. Hack your body’s natural rhythms.
Sleep cycles are usually about 90 mins, so if you need to be up at 6am, go to sleep at 9.30 or 11pm to fit with the sleep cycle. This makes it much easier to get going in the morning, as you are more likely to wake up feeling tired and drowsy if your alarm wakes you in the middle of a cycle. Your body also craves routine, so try to sleep and wake at the same time each day. Sorry, no weekend sleep in!
9. Pillows can make all the difference.
Your pillow can make a big difference to how you feel when you wake in the morning. Are you waking with a stiff and sore neck, shoulders or upper back? Your pillow could be the problem. A contoured pillow which supports your head, neck and shoulders, whichever position you sleep in, can help you to wake up feeling refreshed. Just remember, when changing your pillow, it can take up to two weeks to get used to the change, and you may feel ‘worse’ for a night or two as your body gets used to the new level of support.
10. Get out in the sunshine, when there is some!
Bright daylight helps with to regulate circadian rhythm and sleep hormones, helping you body know when it is daytime and night. Exercising during daylight hours is another amazing way to help your quality of sleep.
11. Lavender and chamomile.
Essential oils are becoming very well know for their uses in helping to calm and relax. A few drops of lavender oil on a tissue under your pillow can help you drift off a little easier. Chamomile tea is also quite well known for its ability to help calm and relax, a cup of chamomile a few hours before bed can help you wind down.
12. Temperature and the environment in your bedroom.
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for rest and relaxation. Try to keep your bedroom tidy, no TV or other screens and create a restful, calm area to get your shut eye. The ideal temperature for sleep is between 18-20 degrees Celsius, so use heating or cooling to achieve this. Use your bed for sleep and sex, nothing else! No work, no laptops, no scrolling on your phone.
13. Relaxation techniques before bed.
Just like we do for the kids, a bedtime wind down routine can have benefits at any age. This will look different for everyone, depending on how you like to relax, but some ideas include: meditation, taking a hot bath, reading a book, listening to relaxing music, breathing exercises or visualisations. Anything that involves turning off a screen and allowing your mind to switch off before bed.
There are so many factors involved in a good bedtime routine and working towards a good restful night’s sleep. This list is not intended to be implemented all at once, take one or two steps at a time and find what works for you.
Blue light filter for Samsung
Blue light filter for iPhone
Blue light filter for computers
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At Ballarat and District Chiropractic we know you want to be empowered when it comes your health so we want to help you by sharing all our knowledge about Chiropractic.