“Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream”, that’s the slogan for World Sleep Day 2016. World Sleep Day is a day set aside to recognize the importance of good sleep and to raise awareness of sleep disorders.
Just one sleepless night can cause you to be more irritable, slow your reaction time, and make it hard to think. A string of sleepless nights can make you more susceptible to illness, while chronic insomnia can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and a host of other health conditions. There are several reasons why you might have trouble sleeping, including depression, restless legs, mineral deficiency, and pain.
We know that good sleep is essential for a variety of reasons, but there is still a lot we don’t know about exactly what happens when we sleep and how. During sleep is when the cells repair themselves, the body and mind recharge themselves, and hormone levels are regulated. We also know that memories are consolidated when we sleep, and that sleep is critical to learning and long-term memory formation.
If you have trouble sleeping, you may have tried (or been tempted to try) medication. While medication might seem like a quick fix, it carries the potential for various side effects, most commonly morning grogginess. Extended use can lead to dependence and rebound insomnia. The following strategies can help you get better quality sleep, even if you don’t have significant trouble sleeping.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and other stimulants, and avoid them entirely after midday.
- Get some moderate exercise every day. Don’t exercise too strenuously late in the day. A walk after dinner can promote good digestion and sleep.
- Keep dinner light to moderate, and at least a couple of hours before bed. A heavy meal too close to bedtime can lead to indigestion. If you get hungry before bed, or if hunger wakes you up in the night, eat a light snack an hour or so before bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. A consistent sleep schedule makes it easier for your body and brain to know when it’s time to shut down. Don’t sleep in after a late or rough night, as this is counterproductive and can lead to yet another sleepless night.
- Follow a bedtime routine. Whatever you do to get ready for bed, do the same things in the same order every night. Before too long, just following your routine will make you start to feel tired, even if you aren’t when you start.
- Use your bedroom for sleep only. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom and keep the room as dark as possible while you sleep. If you like to read before bed, put away the ereader and use a bedside lamp to read a physical book. If you like to use your phone as your alarm clock, leave it across the room so you’re not tempted to roll over and check it. This has the added benefit of forcing you to get out of bed to turn off the alarm.
As you use these strategies, you’re retraining your body and brain to recognize when it is time to shut down and sleep. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few days before you are falling asleep faster. If your insomnia persists, a chiropractor, naturopath, or acupuncture may be able to help.
A chiropractic can promote better sleep by restoring balance and improving nervous system function so you can relax.
A naturopath will help you determine whether a physical issue may be contributing to your insomnia and recommend ways to help you address any underlying causes of sleeplessness.
Acupuncture can help remove blockages and restore the flow of vital energy, known as qi, to help you rest more easily.
To find out more about how you can get better sleep, call Sydney chiropractor Neurobalance now on 02 9938 5456 to arrange an appointment.