Sleep Better

Sleep Better
Sleep Better - Some suggestions
We all have times when adequate sleep seems to elude us.  For the most part, these episodes are a short lived part of the normal cycles of life. *

Persistent lack of sleep - beyond several weeks at a time - produces fatigue, depression, confusion, impaired short-term memory, concentration and alertness. Long term lack of sleep impairs your ability to fight off disease and repair tissue.
Effects of chronic sleep deprivation

Your proper sleep pattern is what works for you. There are documented cases of people who get by very well with only a few hours of sleep yet others who feel their best with ten! People in many tropical countries find it very necessary to enjoy their mid-day ciesta. If you are reasonably well rested through your day and able to function well, lack of sleep is not necessarily your problem.

Your habits - both what you think and do - can cause many chronic sleep problems. 

Sleep problems are not insurmountable.  If your sleep is disturbed over longer periods of time, the suggestions in this post can help you sort your way through.

Here are seven ways to sleep better.

Sweet Dreams!

If ongoing sleeplessness is a concern to you, take a look at your habits and do some fine tuning as necessary.

1. Establish a sleep schedule. 

Going to bed too early?  Many people will go to bed because they are bored. Then they are frustrated because they aren’t tired enough to sleep well.  This only results in longer periods of lousy sleep.

Instead, decrease your slumber time by retiring later, to when you are obviously tired, and also rising earlier. You may get less bed-rest, but if you accept you’ll sleep more soundly, you will lose your apprehension about it. 

Your body’s internal timekeepers want predictability.  Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends, is probably the most important step towards establishing good sleep patterns.  
Circles of daily life

Studies find that adults who sleep more than eight hours a night (long sleepers) or less than seven hours of slumber, report more sleep complaints than people who get just the right amount of shuteye -- between seven and eight hours per night.  Too much sleep may be just as unhealthy as too little.

Save the bedroom for sleep and romance
Limit bedroom activities. 

Watching TV, scheduling tomorrow’s agenda, problem-solving with your spouse and even reading are activities associated with wakefulness.  These activities can help someone wind down, but if your rest is poor, use the bedroom strictly for sleep (and romance).  This helps separate the active part of your life from sleep time. 


2. Separate sleep from wakefulness. 

If you can't sleep - stop trying.
If you persistently find yourself lying awake for a long time, you may soon expect to have troublefalling asleep. Often, worrying about lack of sleep keeps people awake!

When you languish between sleep and wakefulness for more than 15 minutes, get up.  Watch a quiet nature program or read something dull.  Go back to bed only when you feel drowsy.

3. Regulate your body heat.

Even small ups and downs in body temperature play a large role in your biological rhythms.  Sleep generally follows the cooling phase of your body’s temperature cycle.  Normally, peaks and troughs in temperature parallel exposure to light and darkness, but if your inner thermostat is following its own independent schedule, your sleep may be disrupted. 

A hot bath just before bedtime can increase body temperature ... if you have trouble sleeping, bathe earlier or enjoy a warm but not a hot bath.

Avoid vigorous activity within a few hours of bedtime as it can raise your body temperature and keep you awake. 

While exercise early in the day does not directly promote better sleep at night, it does promote better wakefulness.  Getting outdoors and exposure to early morning sunshine can help keep your system in synch with the natural light-dark cycle. Exercise helps promote emotional and physical wellbeing and is associated with healthier sleep patterns. 

4. Skip caffeine - even in mid-afternoon.
Stimulants..get it?!

Caffeine is a stimulant and can linger in the system up to eight hours.  Even for people who drink coffee before bed and think they sleep well, research shows significant sleep disturbances when monitored in the lab.  Remember that tea, chocolate, colas, other foods and many medications can contain caffeine and may impair sleep. 

Smoking impairs sleep because nicotine has a stimulant effect similar to caffeine.

Avoid nightcaps. 

While alcohol does help you fall asleep, as it is metabolized by the body, it releases a natural stimulant that disrupts sleep during the second half of the night.  The greater the quantity of alcohol consumed, the worse the disruption.

A small snack - not a feast - eaten before bed promotes sleep.

5. Screen out nocturnal noises.

You will likely get used to soft, rhythmic sounds such as the furnace kicking in, however, louder sporadic noise from traffic or aircraft can be more disruptive than you might think.

If you can’t eliminate the noise, try muffling its sound.  Carpeting and draperies help. 

Create white noise - an even low level sound that masks other more intrusive noise.... Run a fan, tune the radio to a blank spot on the dial.

6. People who try to ‘sleep on their problems’ neither solve their problems nor get their sleep.
Do battle through the day - you've earned your rest.
It’s hard to sleep if you’re a wound tangle of nerves.  Some helpful suggestions...

Leave work at work.  Since we’re paid to fill our minds with ideas, letting go of them isn’t always easy.   Create a symbol or simple ritual to signify the end of your work day... shutting off your computer, ceremonially closing the door, locking your desk... buying a flower….when the ritual is done, so is the work day.  If you must bring work home, when you have given your due, put the work away and close the ‘box‘.  You control your work, it does not control you.

If you are a worrier and its bedtime when your mind wanders, carve 30 minutes of ‘worry time’ out of your day.  Write down your thoughts and plan of action.  If your troubles return as you try to dose off, tell yourself, “I’ve already worked that out and now it’s my time ... to sleep.”

Jot down your thoughts on a notepad through the evening or keep one at the bedside.  Let the notepad ’remember’ your thoughts instead of holding them in your head all night long.

7. Practice progressive relaxation.  Starting from the top of your head, let the tension go ... relax the furrows in your forehead ... lips together - teeth apart ...  breath deep - feel your chest and diaphragm move gently ... relax the neck and shoulders - feel them get heavier ... let the feeling spread into your arms and hands as you let them ease ... continue into the buttocks .... legs ... feet.

Mind trip your way to progressive relaxation
A personal favourite is to imagine myself alone on a beach. Then to see in my mind's eye the sand glinting in the sun, the blue of the water as it meets the blue of the sky, the clouds drifting, hear the waves washing on the shore, the sound of the birds overhead, feel the breeze against your skin.... use all your senses to create a virtual experience... then allow yourself peace and rest....

If anxiety continues to get the better of you, consider the services of a qualified counselor, therapist or clergy.

For Your Consideration....

The concept of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep may not be natural to humans.  It is more an adaptation to the industrial -commercial work schedule.  
Prior to the industrial revolution, people would retire shortly after dark, sleep for several hours then awake. During the mid-night hours people might pray, practice music, do chores, visit with the neighbours or be active under the moon’s light... then sleep several more hours until dawn.  People commonly referred to their first sleep and second sleep. Is it possible then, that being awake in the wee hours is natural?

For more info.....  click here.

Close your eyes and drift with the music... The Lady of Shallot
Have you ever wished you had an extra hour in your day?  Perhaps you do. Rather than lament lost sleep, consider the extra hours as found wakeful time.  This could be time to stay current in your reading... learn a musical instrument... develop some creative skill.... advance your knowledge.

Also, for your consideration....

Stress, negative thoughts, worry and emotional upsets can manifest themselves in the spine and muscles.  The function of the spine and muscles can be impaired by repetitive motions, long periods of sitting, improper lifting and many everyday activities.   The mind-body connection can get locked into destructive patterns... impaired sleep is one symptom that something is wrong.  
Myofascial trigger points - mind-body connection - Chiropractic = Relief

Chiropractic helps restore the ability of the mind and body to relieve stress and permit rest .... chiropractic is safe and naturally effective.
This brochure is offered for information and guidance.  Sometimes, poor sleep can signal other health problems.  If your concerns persist, consult your health professional.

Collingwood Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinic

Collingwood Counselling Psychology

                                 705 445-5401


Work when you work, rest when you rest
Help for sleeping better.

 Sleep better
Sleep better - naturally

Sleep naturally - Collingwood Chiropractor

No comments:

Featured Posts

Low Back Pain: How it begins and progresses.

Dear Gentle Reader: The following is a thorough discussion of low back and originates from the National Institute of Neurological Di...