How much sleep do you get in an average night? Current guidelines recommend at minimum of seven hours of sleep for adults. Unfortunately, more than one-third of the U.S. adult population falls short of these guidelines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lack of sleep can affect your health in many ways. It slows cognitive function, depresses the immune system, disturbs the body’s hormone levels, contributes to fatigue, weight gain and more. But there are ways to sleep better at night and feel more rested in the morning, including the following.
#1) Cut Back on Processed Sugar
A study cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that people who eat more processed sugar during the day experience lighter, lower quality sleep than their counterparts who eat less processed sugar. You can still treat yourself to an occasional piece of candy or other sugary food, but you should be conscious of how much processed sugar you consume. To improve the quality of your sleep, avoid consuming more than 38 grams of processed sugar per day if you’re a man or 25 grams if you’re a woman.
#2) Follow a Schedule
It’s important that you follow a schedule by going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning (or about the same time). Doing so allows your body to adjust itself to your schedule. When it’s your bedtime, your body will naturally feel tired as it’s used to sleeping this time. And when it’s your wake time, your body will naturally awaken itself without the need for an alarm clock. Just remember to plan your schedule so that it allows for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
#3) Create a Dark Sleeping Environment
You’ll have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep if your bedroom is dark. Light from an overhead fixture, bedside table lamp, the television, your smartphone or other devices can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Prior to lying down, turn off all lights and devices to create the darkest environment possible. The darker your bedroom, the better.
#4) Get Some Sunlight
Although it’s best to create a pitch-black environment in your bedroom when attempting to fall asleep, you should go outside and get some sunshine during the day. A study of insomnia sufferers found that two hours of daily sun exposure increased their sleep duration while also allowing participants to fall asleep 83% faster. Sunlight provides the body with an excellent source of vitamin D — just 15 minutes daily is enough to meet your daily vitamin D needs — and it also restores balance to the body’s circadian rhythm. These effects may, in turn, help you sleep better at night.
#5) Get a Massage
Massage therapy is often used to treat muscle pain, muscle tension and stress. However, it’s also useful for treating sleep disorders. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), massage therapy has been shown to improve the sleep quality of infants, children and adults. It’s a therapeutic process that alleviates muscle tension, flushes toxins through the body’s lymphatic system, and reduces psychological stress, all of which can have a positive impact on your sleep. So, consider getting a massage to see how it affects your sleep quality.
#6) Add Melatonin to Your Diet
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that assists the body with sleep. It helps your body (and mind) relax so that you’re able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Therefore, adding more melatonin to your diet may improve the quality of your sleep. You can find melatonin in a wide variety of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Alternatively, you can take a melatonin supplement. Keep in mind, though, melatonin supplements can cause drowsiness. Melatonin’s sedative effects can make it difficult to work and drive, so only take them at night when you’re ready to lie down and sleep. If you take a melatonin supplement during the day, you may struggle to keep your eyes open.
#7) Create a Comfortable Climate
You need to create a comfortable climate in your bedroom to achieve high-quality, restful sleep. According to one study, the temperature of a person’s bedroom affects his or her sleep quality more than noise. For many people, a cool climate of 65 to 70 degrees offers the ideal sleeping environment. For others, however, warmer temperatures may prove better. The only way you’ll know what temperature works best for you is to experiment with different settings on your home thermostat. If you don’t sleep well in a 65-degree environment, try raising the thermostat to 67 degrees. If that doesn’t work, raise it a little more. Continue doing this until you find the temperature that offers the best quality sleep.
Poor sleep can also be linked to muscuskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the spine and back. Contact us today to learn more about our chiropractic and massage therapy services.Share