Do you burn the candle at both ends? Or maybe you wake up a lot during the night and can’t get back to sleep? Or are you one of those people who lay awake for hours, getting frustrated that you can’t get to sleep, then eventually you drift off with only a few hours left before the alarm is set to go off? There’s plenty of research telling us how unhealthy it can be to have poor sleep. Chronically poor sleep can affect our cardiovascular system, our mental health, our ability to cope with aches and pains and it can also increase our risk of alzheimers and dementia as we age. It is for these reasons our chiropractors will often recommend improving sleep as part of our pain management strategies.
So, if you are struggling with your sleep, here are a few simple things that you can do that might help improve your sleep.
How can I improve my sleep?
- Get up at the same time each morning
- Go to bed roughly around the same time
- Keep the same before-bed routine 30min before going to bed
Only go to bed when you are sleepy
- Sleepiness come and goes in waves, look for signs of sleepiness and go to bed when energy levels dip.
Make the association between bed and sleep really strong
- Only use bed for sleeping (or sex)
- No reading, watching tv or chilling out during the day on the bed.
- If it’s been more than 20min and you haven’t fallen asleep (and don’t feel close to it), get out of bed and do something quiet until you feel sleepy again.
- Try some calm, non-stimulating activites to help calm the nervous system down so that it can prepare for sleep
- Relaxation/mindfulness techniques can also help to reduce worry and racing thought
- Practice relaxation techniques regularly and use when dropping off to sleep
Good Sleep Hygiene
- Diet – avoid heavy, fatty or sugary food before bed and avoid caffeine or chocolate 4 hours before bed
- Exercise – regular exercises (even low intensity) can be beneficial for sleep. Don’t exercise with 2-3 hours before going to bed.
- Reduce light in the bedroom and increase light exposure during the day
- Reduce noise
- Reduce core body temp – have a warm shower before bed as it increases the body’s surface temp which then cools the core body temperature
- Although naps can be ok for people who sleep well, if you are having poor sleep napping through the day should be avoided.
- If you do take a nap, make it short and closer to morning or lunch time, not in the afternoon.
So why not give these things a try. The are simple strategies that can be implemented right away and can have an immediate impact on your sleep.
If you are still struggling with sleep, and its affecting your quality of life, you could speak to your GP about melatonin or other prescription medications to assist with sleep. But remember, these medications are meant to be used short term and in conjunction with the recommendations listed above.
If you are in pain and it is affecting your sleep, our chiropractors would love to help you. Book online or call the clinic today for an assessment
Contact the clinic on (03) 5222 6868 to book an appointment today, or
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