While sleep plays a critical part in our overall well-being, the good news is that even if you suffer from pain, there are many ways you can improve habits to help get the quality sleep your body needs. Before counting sheep, consider these easy tips:
1. Eat Healthy Throughout The Day: Eating healthly throughout the day can be an important factor in how well you sleep at night. If you are someone who experiences hunger before bedtime, eat a small serving of carbohydrates and fat (berries and nuts) about 15 – 30 minutes before you go to bed. Be sure to avoid heavy, rich foods, alcohol and fatty foods 2 -3 hours before bed as these can cause indigestion and insomnia.
2. Nap Strategically: If you need to make up for lost sleep at night, it is ok to take short naps during the day rather than sleeping in late in the morning. This prevents disruption to your natural sleep – wake pattern. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating naps altogether.
3. Keep To An Evening Routine: Setting a bedtime and going to bed at the same time each night may prevent tossing and turning. If you must change your schedule on the weekends, try doing it in small increments. If you change your bedtime, help your body adjust by changing in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day. It is also beneficial to incorporate relaxing rituals in the evening prior to going to bed such as taking a bath, reading or meditating.
4. Exercise Most Days: Physical activity, especially cardiovascular workouts, are known for improving the length and quality of your sleep. That said, it’s best not to exercise within 4 hours of going to bed because body temperature elevates. As you cool down, your brain receives signals to produce sleep-inducing melatonin.
5. Pay Attention To What You Drink: Watching what you drink in the late afternoon and evening hours has a number of implications on your ability to get a good night’s rest. Drinking too much before bed can cause disruptive, middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Caffeine should be limited as it can keep you awake 10 to 12 hours after drinking it. After lunch, cut back on your overall intake or consider avoiding caffeine altogether. Be cautious when drinking alcohol as well – it can take hours to wear off and wreak havoc on your quality of sleep.
6. Get Comfortable: Create a comfortable room that is cool, dark and quiet. When sharing a bed with someone else, make sure it is big enough and at the comfort level for both of you. Set limits on how often children or pets share your bed or encourage they use their own beds most, or all of the time.
What tips do you have to help improve sleep?