6 Tips For Better Sleep

April 7, 2018

 

If you could use more sleep, keep reading...

 

  • Maybe you feel that your sleep is okay, but you’re still not waking up feeling rested

  • Maybe you rely on something like wine or sleeping pills to help you fall asleep

  • Or perhaps you wake up constantly and have a hard time falling asleep again

 

Whatever the reason, you will be able to benefit from the 6 strategies I outline below (even if you have young children, a tight work deadline, or upcoming travel plans).

 

Because if you aren’t sleeping, no matter how much you exercise, how consistently you eat healthy, how often you’re getting your spine checked and adjusted, your body is going to be limited in how well it can recover and function. 

 

 

1. Commit to a sleep routine: First, go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day (yes, even on weekends!) Then build your nighttime routine. We implement bedtime routines with our kids, why should we treat ourselves any differently? Yours may consist of showering, journaling, reading, having a conversation with your spouse, brushing your teeth, packing your lunch for tomorrow, setting your clothes out for the next day or any combination of those tasks.

 

2. Minimize electronics and your exposure to artificial light after dinner: This tip isn’t rocket science, and you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times before, but electronics really do impact your body’s ability to not just fall asleep but remain asleep too. Your circadian rhythm will thank you by reducing your screen time after sunset.

 

3. Be mindful of triggers that are keeping you up at night: Alcohol with dinner, late afternoon caffeine and dark chocolate for desert are common triggers, but there are others. Sometimes these knock you out cold, but end up waking you up in the middle of the night wide awake, preventing you from falling back asleep. You can also become dependent on these triggers and feel as if you can’t unwind and fall asleep without them. If you rely on them, start by being aware of the potential affects they could be having on your sleep and have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you will choose to continue consuming them. 

 

4. Understand that you’re not designed to be a night owl: Having a lot of energy late at night is a sign that your circadian rhythm is out of whack. Cortisol levels should decrease in the evening (make you sleepy) and increase in the morning (make you feel awake). You may feel okay, but know that chronic stress can start to affect when your body feels sleepy and awake and is often an early sign that your body isn't functioning as well as it could or should.

 

5. Track your sleep: My favourite tool is the Sleep Cycle app which helps you identify how much sleep you’re actually getting and when during the night you’re not getting restorative sleep. This will help confirm whether your issue is falling asleep, staying asleep or getting into REM-sleep which is that really deep sleep state.

 

6. Spend time in the morning sun: If your sleep-wake cycle allows, avoid sleeping past sunrise. Once you wake, get some direct outside sunlight early in the morning as often as possible, preferably daily.

 

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have a question, please comment below.

 

Make it a great week,

 

Dr. Jenna

 

 

 

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