Hey there, Jacksonville! Let’s talk about sleep. Are you getting enough? Too many people are not!
And that’s a problem, because lack of sleep has been linked to everything from mood swings to pimple breakouts to weight gain to poor memory to a weakened immune system, and even to vision problems. The fact is, our bodies need sleep to function in a normal, healthful manner.
But sometimes you might have trouble sleeping. It could be due to stress, or chronic pain, or some other issue. Maybe you toss and turn but just can’t fall asleep. Maybe you wake up at 4 AM and find yourself just lying there until the alarm goes off. Maybe you sleep through the night but you’re still waking up exhausted.
Whatever the case may be, here are some tips to help you get those forty winks.
1. Give yourself a chance to wind down before bed
What are you doing right before you switch off the lights? Checking work emails? Watching TV? Playing video games?
These are all fine activities on their own, but they stimulate your brain rather than sedate it. If you are doing these kinds of things right before bedtime, experts strongly recommend that you take a break. Give yourself an hour before bed to start winding down - and you should probably make sure that hour is electronics free.
Many people find that establishing a relaxing bedtime ritual also promotes sleep. See what works for you. Bedtime is an excellent chance to spend time with a good book!
2. Don’t stay in bed if you aren’t sleeping
This one is as simple as it sounds: if you can’t sleep after lying there for 20-30 minutes, get out of bed.
Lying there worrying that you can’t get to sleep will probably not help you get to sleep! Get up and engage in some calm activity that won’t overstimulate you (don’t turn on that TV!). Have a cup of non-caffeinated tea or a glass of warm milk. Read some more of that book. When you feel gravity dragging your head toward your pillow it’s time to fall back into bed, hopefully this time to sleep.
3. Keep a regular sleep schedule
If you’re like many people, you stay very busy on weekdays and so on the weekends you sleep in as much as possible. Or perhaps you simply find yourself going to bed at different times every night. Both of these patterns can lead to poor sleep. Going to bed at roughly the same time every night and waking up at a normal hour, even on weekends, can help you get more consistent restful sleep.
That doesn’t mean you have to get up at 7 AM on Saturday. But sleeping half the day away can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule and leave you feeling tired and drained come Monday morning.
4. Exercise daily
If you’ve been sitting in an office all day, your body may still have pent-up energy to burn come bedtime. That could make getting to sleep difficult. A vigorous workout - not too close to bedtime - can exhaust your body and your mind and help you get those badly needed Z’s.
5. Consider your sleep environment
There may be simple changes you can make in your bedroom that will help you get a good night’s sleep. Here are some ideas to consider:
· Blackout curtains on the window can block out external light sources which keep you awake.
· A white noise machine helps lull some people to sleep.
· Make sure your bedroom is nice and cool. Too warm and you may have trouble staying asleep.
· Is your pet waking you up at 2 AM every night? Your little fluff ball may need to sleep somewhere other than your bedroom.
· Make sure your pillows are comfortable. Replace them regularly.
· Make sure your mattress is doing the job. Most mattresses need to be replaced once every ten years or so.
Believe it or not, Active Chiropractic and Medical has a number of ways to help people with pain sleep at night. Perhaps there is a special pillow or mattress that might make you more comfortable. Or maybe you just need help with pain. If aches and pains are keeping you awake, come in and see us!
Here is wishing you a good night’s sleep, Jacksonville!
Yours in health,
Christopher B. Renne, D.C.
4111 Atlantic Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207