Tag Archives: sleep

5 Simple Tips to Improve SLEEP

In an ideal world, you would be falling asleep within minutes of hitting your pillow. Unfortunately, this is far from reality for thousands of people. A full 40 percent of people sleep less than eight hours every night, and even falling asleep is far from a simple process.

Sleep Like a Baby

Between one-third and half of all adults in the United States suffer from insomnia, and research collected from 1905 to 2008 shows that children have lost an average of a minute of sleep each year. Good quality sleep is more rare today than ever before. All while research shows that your quality of sleep should be a priority. 

Before I get to my sleep tips, I want to be clear that having the correct mattress for your condition and sleep style is extremely important. I often recommend specific mattresses for my patients, but if you are not a patient, Quality Sleep Mattress Store in Bellevue is my top choice for custom matching a mattress.

If you have eliminated your mattress as the source of poor quality of sleep, now you can read further as these are definitely secondary to a quality mattress.

So, what can you do to improve your sleep each night? These tips are the place to start.

 

#1. Control Artificial Light Exposure

One of the biggest factors for how well you sleep each night is the amount of light you are exposed to. We evolved to be extremely sensitive to even slight variations in light levels, ensuring that evening skies lead us to feel drowsy.

 

Today, however, an overabundance of artificial light is keeping us awake. Your phone, laptop screen, and TV all emit “blue light” which triggers your body into thinking that it’s daytime no matter what the clock says. In fact, looking at a cell phone screen late at night has been found to keep people up for hours longer than they would be otherwise.

To fall asleep faster, put all your electronics aside at least two hours before hitting your pillow to prevent your brain from getting stimulated. Also, many cell phones now have a “night mode” that essentially turns off the blue lights that come from your screen. I recommend 2 hours in this mode before sleep or ideally, no electronics at all.

#2. Don’t Stress About Sleep

STRESS about not falling asleep and you’ll, no doubt, NOT fall asleep. If you’re starting to feel anxious about the sleep you’re missing out on, it’s important to stop this mental pattern before it gets out of control.

Don’t let yourself dwell on how bad you’ll feel in the morning, and think instead about how much easier falling asleep will be the next night. Evidence shows that letting go of worry while falling asleep helps you fall asleep faster, just by removing your underlying anxiety.

#3. Practice Relaxation Techniques

The old methodology of ‘counting sheep’ might be more beneficial for your health than you think. Simple relaxation techniques can do a lot to focus your mind to help you fall asleep, so consider experimenting to find what works for you. Some people practice a twenty-minute yoga routine before bed, others practice meditation or read books in bed.

Often, the routine itself is just as crucial of a trigger that it’s time to wind down as what you do, so being consistent is key.

#4. Get Out of Bed When Necessary

If you really can’t sleep, there’s no point in lying in bed willing things to be different. Instead, get up, make a cup of tea, or spend time with a book in your living room. Don’t turn on your TV or use your smartphone though, as the artificial light will make you stay up longer.

In most cases, the change in routine (of laying sleepless) will help you forget your anxiety about still being awake, and you’ll fall asleep again quickly.

#5. Avoid Chemical Substances

Contrary to what you might think, alcohol makes sleeping more difficult. Cigarettes, caffeine, and spicy meals also disrupt sleep, so keep your food and drinks relatively bland in the hours before bedtime for the best results.

Falling asleep shouldn’t be a struggle. Experiment with these tips, and you’ll be getting better sleep in no time. Here is another blog on the very same topic that you may also consider.

How to Improve Your Sleep

We all know the frustration that comes with insomnia: watching the clock, counting the hours till morning, and flipping through late night channels. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, you’re not alone. Approximately 30% Americans are plagued with insomnia each year and even more struggle in one way or another with sleep, such as grogginess, poor concentration. But apart from these frustrating symptoms, poor sleep habits can result in long-term medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, with some small changes in your habits and sleep routine, you can take control of your sleep and boost your chances of getting better rest.

Limit Your Screen Time

Despite the urge to watch Netflix in bed, try leaving your computer, tablet, or television anywhere but the bedroom. Doing so can improve your sleep, even if you don’t suffer from full-fledged insomnia. Using electronic devices, including your phone, just before bed has been linked to irregular sleep patterns and poor sleep habits. So if you find yourself waking up exhausted or tossing and turning before falling asleep, switch out your laptop for a book.

Move Your Body

An aerobic workout may be enough to tire our your body and promote deep sleep. After all, regular exercise has been found to improve patterns of insomniacs. But even a single moderately paced exercise session may help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, at least for that night. Exercise may help with insomnia because it regulates your body temperature, reduces anxiety and depression, and helps to normalize your circadian rhythm.

Change Positions or Your Pillows

No matter how tired you are, you may find it difficult to get into a comfortable position and stay asleep. If neck pain or headaches are keeping you awake at night, you may want to re-consider your sleep position or even your pillows. After all, an individual’s reported pillow comfort is correlated with sleep quality. Aim for a position and pillow that prevents your neck from staying in neutral while you sleep. I recommend THIS PILLOW and even sell it in the office. I provided the Amazon link just in case you can save a few bucks by buying it from them. The goal is to improve your ability to get a good nights rest, not to sell you a pillow.

A good night of sleep is irreplacable

Address Pain

Aches and pain not only make it difficult to fall asleep but lead to frequent awakenings, painful mornings, and a restless night.

Unfortunately, pain and sleep may work in concert: pain can lead to poor sleep quality, and poor sleep quality can further exacerbate pain. To break free of this frustrating cycle, address the primary cause that is leading to a secondary condition of pain.

Get Checked For Sleep Apnea

If you are a snorer, wake up gasping for breath, or struggle to stay awake during the day, do yourself a favor and get checked for sleep apnea. It is a condition characterized by cessations in breathing during sleep and it is devastating to your health. Short periods of oxygen deprivation lead to numerous subsequent micro-awakenings, ones that you may not even remember. Although between three and seven percent of adults suffer from sleep apnea, very few get treatment for this potentially dangerous condition.

Consider Supplements

If all else fails, you may find yourself desperate for a good night’s rest. Hopefully you are not drawn to television advertisements for sleeping pills. Before you ask your doctor for a prescription, consider nutritional or herbal-based remedies that may help you get a better ZZZZZ’s. Look for foods that contain melatonin, including cherries. Some studies have found that melatonin supplementation reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases quality sleep time.

Replace That Old Mattress

If you are sleeping on a mattress that is more than 8 years old, stop! Take a deep breath, and imagine waking up in the morning without aches pains. I have tested, discarded, and been very disappointed MANY times over the years. There are two mattresses that I can recommend without hesitation. One is the Intellibed, a medical grade bed that is top notch. Unfortunately, like many mattresses, it is pricey. 

The second bed is one that I am extremely happy to share with you. It is the best memory foam mattress I have found. Yes, much better than the “brand name” that we always associate with memory foam and MUCH cheaper. Thankfully, it is cheap in price and TOP in quality. Save your money and brag to your friends that this bed is STRUCTURALLY APPROVED. Do yourself a favor and put this in your shopping cart now and get some much needed rest.

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