by Justin Phillips, D.C.
As we get older, have more kids/nieces & nephews, get more responsibilities, and overall create more limitations on our time, a “good” night’s sleep becomes increasingly important. Have you heard the statement, “Early to bed, early to rise….makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise”? This simply means that a good night’s sleep is the foundation to a healthy, happy, and productive life. Without good sleep, we go through each day a little foggy, more exhausted, less productive, and can’t wait to get BACK in bed. Developing good sleep habits doesn’t start at night, it begins the moment we wake up.
Lose the Snooze. By repeatedly hitting the snooze button until you drag yourself out of bed, you may think you’re making it easier to wake up. However, all you’re really doing is fragmenting your sleep. Think about it, which would you rather do……..sleep for 8 hours straight, or for 1 hour 8 times? A long uninterrupted sleep will best prepare your mind and body for each day.
Turn on the Lights. The best form of light is the sun. If it is dark or cold out, artificial light is still better than keeping things dark. Exposing yourself to bright light early in the day has been shown to improve sleep as well as daily alertness and productivity, even if it is artificial.
Get some Early Activity. This doesn’t have to be running or working out. Go for a walk with the dog, stretch or do light yoga, play with your kids, or jog/walk on a treadmill while catching up on emails. This does not have to be intense, but getting your blood flowing and nerves firing early will keep you alert during the day and help prepare your body for nighttime.
Work hard and Stay Focused. If you’re going to be at work, you might as well get as much accomplished as you can while you’re there. There’s a saying that goes, “If you want to make an easy job seem much harder, keep putting off doing it.” Getting work done early will decrease the mental load for the rest of your day and procrastination will only make you more stressed, thus sleeping much worse.
Keep Your Spine Aligned. Routine chiropractic adjustments will not only keep you healthier and more active throughout the day, but set up your spine and muscles for a more relaxing experience in the evening. Many people have difficulties getting comfortable in bed and/or move around constantly. Keeping your spine correctly aligned will help you get comfortable in bed and have a better night’s sleep.
Eat Right. Eating most of your carbs at dinner has shown to shorten the sleep onset. This basically means that packing carbs into dinner can help you fall asleep faster. Also, try to eat some form of animal fat and/or olive oil, which are both great sources of oleic acid, which aides sleep induction.
Turn off the Screens. Turn off all screens (laptop, tv, tablets, smartphones) at least an hour before bedtime. All these devices emit blue light that interrupts melatonin, which is the hormone that tells our body it’s time to sleep.