What else do you spend 1/3rd of your life doing? Why not treat your sleep like one of the most important things you do? We spoke about preparing your mind and body for bed, now how about setting up your sleeping environment for success. By now you already know about choosing the best mattress for you, if not click here.
My top tips for Optimizing Your Sleep Sanctuary
1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock. Close your bedroom door, get rid of night-lights, refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, cover up your clock radio, use blackout curtains, wear an eye mask. All life evolved in response to predictable patterns of light and darkness, called circadian rhythms. Light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up and starts preparing your body for ACTION.
2. Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 15-20 degrees. When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, about four hours after you fall asleep. A cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
3. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed. The electro-magnetic fields created by electrical or wifi equipment can interfere with your sleep cycle. If you must have them, keep them at least 3ft from your bed.
4. Reserve your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep, so avoid doing these activities in bed.
All of these tips have the potential to seriously enhance your sleep quality, however they do not replace the need for a healthy lifestyle. The final puzzle piece, to really optimise our sleep and our health, we also need to address our lifestyle. There are many things in your lifestyle that can and will affect your sleep, here are my top Luggestions to enhance your sleepifestyle S:
1. Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely affect sleep.
2. Avoid caffeine. Self explanatory!
3. Reduce alcohol before bed. Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
4. Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. Don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake, exercise in the morning is best if you can manage it.
5. Lose excess weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep.
6. Avoid foods you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and other problems.
7. If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.
8. Get you spine & posture assessed by a Chiropractor. Imbalances in your spinal structure can interfere with the nerves that flow through your back, causing a breakdown in the communication between your brain and body. Without proper signals, the brain often doesn’t turn off when it should (eg. at bedtime). Chiropractors’ specialise in balancing the spinal structure, to allow your nerves to flow and body to function as it was designed. Many case studies support Chiropractic care for improving sleep.