Improve your sleep by improving your Sleep Hygiene

Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? The solution may be simpler than you think. Sleep hygiene refers to your habits surrounding when, where, what time and other rituals related to your sleeping habits. Problems with sleeping can often be traced to poor sleep hygiene and when these habits are improved, sleep improves as well.

1.    Keep very regular sleep times: Plan to sleep and wake up at the same time every day of the week. Your body has a natural rhythm known as its circadian rhythm. By sticking with a specific sleep schedule, you can actually train yourself to wake and to feel sleepy at a particular time of day.  This is particularly helpful for those who have difficulty falling asleep. Avoiding daytime napping also helps with establishing a rhythm and helping you fall asleep more easily

2.    Avoid large meals, drugs, caffeine, alcohol and exercise near bedtime: Avoid things like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine too close to the bedtime, they are stimulants and will wake your body up causing trouble with sleep. Avoid having a large meal right before sleep, especially spicy dishes or chocolaty and sugary dishes. While regular exercise is one of the best ways to promote great sleep, doing it too close to bedtime stimulates the body and actually interferes with restful sleep. Plan to complete your exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime and restrict your bedtime activity to light relaxing stretches.

3.    Beds are for sleeping only: Use your bed only to sleep, avoid working, reading and watching television in your bed. Many of these activities are more stimulating than we realize and can actually interfere with the process involved in relaxing and falling asleep.

4.    Have a regular bedtime routine: Find a routine that is relaxing which helps you to separate your “daytime brain”- including worries and stresses – from your “going to sleep brain”. This may include relaxation techniques such as meditation, a warm bath, gentle yoga postures or even watching a funny show on TV. Once you find a routine that helps to calm your thoughts and relax your body, make it a new habit that you repeat each night. 

5.    Deal with chronic pain/discomfort issues: Too often the root cause of poor sleep is the presence of ongoing minor pain problems – tight back muscles, sore neck, tension across the shoulders and headaches are common culprits. Get in to see your chiropractor and go regularly. Nothing improves your sleep more that taking good and regular care of your musculoskeletal system. Not only does it help relax those stiff muscles, it restores proper nerve function throughout the spine and to the brain.

Dr. Guy Bahar is The Posture Doc., a Chiropractor with offices in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Toronto, Ontario and Oakville, Ontario.  Dr. Bahar specializes in correcting poor posture. His unique Posture Training Method corrects poor posture and improves forward head posture. See our amazing New Patient Special and find out what your posture number is today! Improve your posture in Richmond Hill, Oakville and Toronto!