Getting a good night’s sleep should be at the top of your to-do list. Sleep is critical to good health and is important to not only feeling good, but also in making good decisions, performing well at work, driving safely and even with feeling happy. Most of us understand the benefit of getting 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep. We’re in a better mood, we’re more energetic, and let’s face it; we’re usually more fun to be around when we're well rested! Knowing all of this and achieving it can sometimes be a challenge and sleep can be the one of the most elusive of health goals, even more so than exercise. Many people accept this as a way of life and find that their health declines, but most never put the two together. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your sleep and get your health back on track. Here are some sleeping tips to help you get the rest you need:
Decrease stress. The worst culprit limiting sleep, stress is so ingrained into our daily lives that many of us simply don’t notice it anymore. Decreasing it can be as easy as taking a few minutes of “me time” every day. This could be as easy as 30 minutes of TV, a quick angry bird’s break, or your favorite exercise.
Avoid sleep aids. Medications that are marketed to promote sleep are shown to actually decrease deep REM sleep. REM sleep is where we sleep our deepest and heal and it’s vital to maintaining health.
Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is why many of us love it. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they’re addicted until they try to stop drinking it and experience symptoms like mood swings and headaches. If caffeine is consumed, it should be limited to before noon to allow the body adequate time to metabolize it.
Be conscious of your sleep position. If you’re sleeping on your back do so with a pillow under your neck and a pillow under your knees. If you’re sleeping on your side do so with a pillow between your knees. The worst sleeping position for your spine is sleeping on your stomach as this causes you to twist your head to the side thus placing stress on the lower back.
Use the right pillow. If you sleep on your side, then you should select a pillow that is about the thickness of your shoulder. If your head & spine are straight, then you’ve found the correct size. If your head tilts toward the bed, then the pillow is too thin. If it tilts away from the bed, your pillow is too thick. If you sleep on your back, you want a thin pillow. You want your head tilting directly toward the ceiling not the wall or you feet.
Regular adjustments. Subluxation of the spine prevents the brain and nervous system from communicating properly and pressure on the spinal cord and brain stem prevents people from achieving deep sleep.