Although often ignored, sleep quality is one of the pillars of good health, along with exercise and nutrition. Adequate sleep is essential for physical, mental, and emotional health; but in today’s busy world, sleep often takes a backseat. Here are a few tips to help you rest more soundly.
- Make sleep a priority. The National Sleep Foundation advises adults to sleep 7-9 hours every night. Even small sleep deficits can pose problems like decreased athleticism, diminished brain function, increased inflammation, and a greater likelihood to get sick.
- Stick to a schedule. If possible, try to go to bed at the same time every night to help regulate your body’s internal clock. Using a sleep schedule on your phone can help remind you when to go to bed and wake up.
- Exercise daily. Being active in the daytime will promote better nighttime sleep, but stay away from exercising too late in the evening as it may interfere with sleep.
- Avoid stimulants too close to bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine will interfere with your sleep. Particularly limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening since caffeine has a half-life of 6-9 hours and can keep you awake long after the last sip.
- Eat & drink wisely. Ideally, eat your last meal 3-4 hours before bedtime and especially limit heavy, spicy or high-fat foods. Ration how much you drink before bedtime to minimize bathroom breaks.
- Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Never watch TV or use electronic devices in bed. The blue light from electronic screens can minimize your body’s production of melatonin and alter your sleep. If you need some wind-down time, try reading from a book or magazine instead.
- Stay cool. Most people sleep best in a cool room; ideally between 60-67 degrees F.
- Assess the quality of your mattress and pillow. If you’re uncomfortable, you won’t be sleeping well. Furthermore, you’ll wake up to aches and pains if you’re sleeping on a sagging mattress or a pillow that doesn’t promote proper neck posture. If you think your mattress or pillow may need to be replaced, ask our providers. They can provide advice to help you find the best solution for your specific situation.
If you are having trouble falling asleep or are experiencing sleep disturbances throughout the night, modify your sleep routine and habits right away. Making some simple changes could ultimately have a big impact on your overall health. And if you or someone you know has an ache or pain that prevents comfortable sleep, call our office today. Our providers are experts at pinpointing the recipe for more comfortable days…and nights.