Top 10 Tips For Better Sleep
What are the answers for improving your quality of sleep? Here are the top 10:
1. Cut down on caffeine, at least by 11 am.
Accept the fact that you will be more tired in the beginning of this process, but to stop the cycle of fatigue, it must be done. I love coffee, but I drink organic coffee and have a maximum of 2 cups per day. If I drink anything in the afternoon, it is green tea, which has 1/3 the caffeine content as coffee. By changing the caffeine cycle, overtime, adrenal glands are able to regulate themselves, allowing cortisol levels to rise in the AM and decrease in the PM, allowing your body and mind to begin the relaxation process, preparing you for a good night's sleep.
2. Take a nap!
Even a 10 minute nap can rejuvenate you for several hours. I often work 11 to 12 hour days. A nap (even if it is 10 minutes) allows my brain to refuel and my adrenals a chance to rest so I can be at my best for thinking, processing information, and moving throughout my day with great energy. The days that I get a quality nap (10-20 minutes), I get better quality of sleep at night.
3. Limit alcohol before bed.
If you love to have a glass of wine or beer after work, be done with that glass by the end of your evening meal. Wine and beer cause energy levels to be depressed, but also raise blood sugar. Your body (specifically your adrenal glands) will go through a cycle of naturally correcting this. Energy levels will rise......let this happen ahead of bed time rather than after so your body can again naturally restore relaxation before bed time. A common side-effect of later-night alcohol consumption is to wake up at 2 - 3 am when blood sugar levels fall again. Avoid this with no before-bed drinking.
4. Unwind before bed.
Whatever you think, see, or do in the last 20 minutes before you go to bed, will processed by your subconscious 6 times more than what you read, see or do the rest of the day. Are you, like many Americans, watching the 10 pm news before bed? Is this the information you want infiltrating your subconscious before bed? Do something positive......things that work for me: gratitude writing in a journal, meditation, or reading a "less thinking" type of book. Start the unwinding process an hour before you would ideally like to sleep to allow your body a chance to move towards a relaxation state.
5. Avoid electronics at least 1 hour before bed.
Shut off your phone, your iPad, your TV, etc. Stop texting, reading or responding to email, having a stressful conversation, or trying to make big decisions. Give your brain and body a chance to relax, as well as decrease the effects of WiFi, blue screens, and stressful messages that can come up from these sources.
6. Evaluate your bedroom environment.
Does it have a work-space in it? Is it too warm to enhance quality of sleep? Do you have an alarm clock with blue or green light? All of these factors increase stress hormones and decrease your quality of sleep. Surprisingly, a red-numbered alarm clock stresses your body the least. Aim for a cool, dark, stress-free environment for the best sleep.
7. Know your Wellness Score.
Other health factors to consider: do you detoxify well? Are you inflamed? What is your vitamin D level? Each of these factors make a big impact on sleep....they need to be evaluated by a qualified health practitioner. They are each factors that we, the doctors at Body In Balance Wellness Center evaluate in the determination of your Wellness Score. We use this information to design customized nutrition, supplementation, chiropractic and/or exercise programs for our patients to address their specific health challenges.
Exercise is key. It has been said in multiple research studies that exercise, physiologically, has a greater impact than almost anything else we can do for our bodies. While important for just about every aspect of our physiology, make sure you are done exercising 2 hours before bed time to achieve the best sleep.
9. Vitamin D3 and Melatonin
Our eyes depend on natural light to make melatonin, one of the hormones our body uses to promote quality sleep. Most Americans sit in cubicles with florescent lights. To combat this, get outside for 20 minutes in the middle of the day and get your eyes in the sunshine. This act can make a huge impact to restore vitamin D3 levels in our blood stream - a precursor to melatonin.
10. Get adjusted regularly!
What was the number one factor in my sleep recovery process? Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), the type of chiropractic technique we utilize at Body In Balance. After a few years of very poor sleep, I was depleted and stressed; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Like a beacon of hope, NSA came into my life as Scott and I started to learn the technique and receive this type of care ourselves. NSA improved something called my heart rate variability - basically, my body's ability to adapt to stress. I noticed that my physiology started to handle stress more effectively. Instead of feeling stressed by every small event that came into my world, I found myself breathing more deeply, relaxing more easily, and able to fall into a deep sleep with ease. It wasn't perfect at first, but the more care I received, the better I began to sleep.
NSA uses very gentle but specific contacts to activate higher brain center activity. Pain, stress, and lack of sleep cause us to live and make decisions from our lower brain centers. Without higher brain center activity, it is easy to make poor decisions and very difficult to change bad habits. After a month of NSA care, I had the awareness to see how I was handling stress (not well), i.e. how I held my posture (think of a scrunched up ball), how I started to breathe shallowly, and how I repeated the same stressful thought patterns. I realized that through this awareness and through the relaxing adjustments, my headaches, muscle tension, and habits started to change. I started to see my health as a priority, started to take time to unwind, started to exercise regularly, and started to change my eating habits - all while healing, adapting, and SLEEPING! Over the next few months, I felt like a different person! You can see where Dr. Scott and I developed a passion to help our community through NSA.
My final message: do something right now to make your life better...and find out if we can help! Call us at 303.215.0390 to Create Health by Choice, Not by Chance!