Everyone knows there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep for feeling refreshed and alert in the morning. On the other hand, not getting the six to eight hours of sleep that you need may leave you feeling grumpy and tired all day. But here’s something you may not know: You have far more control over the quality of your sleep than you think.
Choose a good mattress
Your mattress should be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape, but firm enough to support your spine. If you share your bed, look for one that provides independent support for each sleeper.
Test your pillow
Your pillow should help keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Try out a variety of pillows in the store to find the one that feels comfortable and works best for you. Different types include memory foam, fibre, feather and buckwheat.
Don’t sleep on your stomach
Canada’s chiropractors recommend sleeping on your back or side. These positions allow your head, neck and spine to relax into their natural alignment. This reduces stress and strain on your muscles and joints that can disrupt your sleep and lead to aches in the morning.
Low Back Pain?
If you have low back pain and sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees to take some of the pressure off your back. Side-sleepers should put a pillow between their knees for support.
Get to bed on time
Try to go to bed at the same time every night – even on weekends – to keep your sleep cycle in a regular rhythm. Avoid naps, but if you must, limit naps to less than 30 minutes, and be sure to have your siesta before 3p.m.
Help your body wind down
Avoid caffeinated beverages, heavy meals, alcohol and vigorous exercise within two hours of bedtime – they can all disrupt sleep.
Bedtime rituals act as relaxation cues
Some people like a hot shower before bed while others like to listen to relaxing music, watch TV or read. These cues let your body know it’s time to prepare for sleep.
Light up your life!
In the morning, open the curtains or blinds soon after you wake up. Bright light helps to regulate your natural biological clock.
Still having a sleepless night?
Experts recommend that if you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes of tossing and turning, get up and do something boring in dim light until you feel sleepy. Try not to look at the clock – it may only make you feel anxious.
Sleep is an important aspect of your overall health – both your body and mind rest and refresh while sleeping. If you have continued difficulty getting a good night’s rest, consult a health professional such as chiropractor who can help identify the problem and find solutions.
From the Ontario Chiropractic Association