If you are having trouble sleeping at night, you are not alone. More than one-quarter of the U.S. population report they occasionally do not get enough sleep, while nearly 10% admit to experiencing chronic insomnia.
Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.
There is good news though, because starting tonight, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Here are 5 ways to get back on track:
Exercise. This is a proven way to help you sleep better. Researchers believe that the natural cool down that occurs after a workout may help hasten the decline in core body temperature that’s associated with sleep, so you’ll fall asleep more easily when you finally get in bed. Your body uses the sleep period to recover its muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake.
Create the right environment. Get your body and mind in the habit of using your bedroom for sleeping by creating an environment that is ideal for sleeping. Start by equipping your room with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and relaxing music. Other tricks include turning the temperature down a few notches, and turning the clock away from your view. Modern day electrical lighting has significantly betrayed your inner clock by disrupting your natural circadian rhythms. Little bits of light pass directly through your optic nerve to your hypothalamus, which controls your biological clock. Light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up and starts preparing your body for action – not good when you want to sleep.
Consider a natural approach. If you don’t want to rely on pills to improve your sleep, make your next step an appointment with your chiropractor. In a recent study of 221 chiropractic patients, one third of the subjects who completed the required interview reported immediate effects on their sleep after a chiropractic adjustment. From this group of responders, a whopping 98% recorded improved results with chiropractic versus those whose sleep patterns did not get better. Pain, both acute and chronic, is another major reason why people experience disturbed sleep. Whether it’s back pain, neck pain or headaches, chiropractic adjustments have a long history of being able to help.
Establish a routine. This could include meditation, deep breathing, or reading before bedtime. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the tensions of the day. Also, you should go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
Improve your diet. The poorer your health, the poorer your body will function in every way, including how well you sleep. Over time, improving your diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods will change your body’s chemistry and you will begin to sleep better as a result. Not only will your physical health improve, but your emotional and mental health will be positively impacted and sources of stress will become easier to manage. Better stress management equals better sleep quality.