Tired All the Time? 5 Tips for Better Sleep
In our busy modern lives, having the energy and focus to make it through a chaotic day is critical. And yet, as many as 2 in 5 Americans don’t get enough rest.
Many people turn to over the counter sleep aids or prescription drugs as the first line of defense against poor sleep. However, these medications can have significant side effects and risksincluding long term dependency and risk of injury due to daytime sleepiness.
Before you resort to medication, here are some natural ways to improve your rest:
1. Start a Sleep Diary
Identifying potential causes of poor sleep starts with a sleep diary. This is not about judgement – it is just about an accurate inventory of your eating, drinking, exercise and relaxation habits to see what impact they may be having on your sleep.
A sleep diarycan help you gain perspective on the factors that may be contributing to a lack of quality sleep so that you can make changes that will be most effective.
Your sleep diary is something to fill in each night and each morning, and it should include:
- The time you laid down to go to bed
- The time you estimate you fell asleep
- The time you woke up, including if you woke up in the night
- Any naps you took during the day including when and the duration
- The time you took your medications
- When and what you ate and drank, paying particular attention to caffeine and alcohol
- Any particular stressors you faced during the day
- When and what exercise you did each day
- The quality of your sleep the night before
You may start to notice patterns within a week or more of keeping your diary. For example, perhaps it is as simple as drinking caffeine after 1pm, or several days in a row without exercise, that causes you to lose quality sleep.
2. Sleep Habits and Daily Routine
One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep is to try to set and maintain a consistent sleep routine. Although an important aspect of a sleep routine is trying to be consistent with the timeframe that you go to sleep and get up, sometimes that is not always possible
For example, people that work different shifts often have to sleep at various times of the day. However, there are still ways to make a routine out of going to sleep, regardless of when you are able to catch your Z’s
The objective is to create a routine around bedtime that can psychologically prepare you for sleep, acting as a trigger to induce sleepiness. By associating your place of rest with sleeping only, it improves the chances that you will feel tired when you go there.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t watch television, read, or play video games in bed
- Keep the room where you sleep very dark
- Exercise daily, even 10-20 minutes a dayof aerobic activity can improve sleep drastically
- Stop eating fatty, acidic or spicy foods at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Add a relaxing activity such as reading or a taking a bath before bed every night
- If possible, get some natural sunlight on your skin every day
3. Screen Discipline
Our modern lives are full of technology that add a great deal of convenience and entertainment to our lives. However, new research into the role of electronic screens suggests they may have a stimulant effect on our brains and are potentially disruptive of efforts to develop good sleep hygiene.
Even sleeping next to your mobile, for example, may be decreasing your quality of sleep. Although they may be too quiet to wake you up, noises or vibration from constant notifications may still keep you from achieving the deep sleep your body desperately needs.
4. Comfortable Bedding
A comfortable and supportive mattress and pillows are very important to adequate rest. And it’s not just hype being promoted by mattress companies! Studies have shown that a new mattress can drastically improve sleep quality along with feelings of pain and stiffness.
If you’re not sure if it is time to spend the money on a new mattress, here are some warning signs:
- You wake up with aches and pains
- There are sagging spots in your bed
- You wake up during the night when your partner shifts their position
- You sleep significantly better in a hotel or on the couch
The average lifespan for a mattress is 7-9 years and may be significantly less for larger people since extra weight can wear out the supportive nature of bedding sooner. If your mattress is older than 10 years old, you can be that it is time for a new replacement.
5. Consult an Upper Cervical Chiropractor
Although traditionally associated with neck pain, back pain, and headaches, Upper Cervical Chiropractic care offers patients a holistic approach to health that pays special attention to the role the spine plays as the regulator of the central nervous system. In fact, Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care may help you improve your sleep in several ways.
Aches and pains during sleep are one of the major reasons why some people do not get adequate rest. Tiny misalignments in the spine and neck can be responsible for a variety of ailments including pain in other parts of the body as well as poor circulation and digestion.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic care offers noninvasive and nonnarcotic pain relief by accurately diagnosing and treating the cause of pain throughout the body. In addition, many patients experience better sleep when under the care of a Chiropractic doctor.
Upper Cervical Care of Glen Carbon
If you live in the great St. Louis area, Edwardsville or Maryville, and are having trouble with sleep, schedule a free consultation with one of our Chiropractors today. Drs. Thad Vuaginaux and Matt Strazewski are here to help you identify the causes and solutions for your sleep problems.
Our approach to health includes noninvasive and nonnarcotic techniques, along with lifestyle and general wellness expertise, to help empower you to have a higher quality of life and improved overall health.