If we asked whether or not you get enough sleep, chances are the answer would be ‘no’. In fact, according to Aviva, two-thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night.
We all know sleep is essential for both our physical and mental well-being, however it’s clear the majority of us don’t get enough. So how do we even begin to tackle the problem, and what measures can we put in place to help us get a better night’s sleep? We’ll talk through our top tips.
Reduce Your Screen Time
We know the world is becoming more digital every day, and it can be really challenging to switch off (figuratively and literally) from that. Especially when there are millions of apps and other technology out there claiming to give us the best night’s sleep we’ve ever had.
However, the reality is quite the opposite. Whether you’re mindlessly scrolling through social media until you’re ‘tired enough to sleep’ or you’re trying to squeeze in just one more episode, screen time before bed is likely to be hindering, or not helping your sleep. In addition, the light emitted by our screens can interfere with the production of hormones necessary for us to get a good night’s sleep. Having a warm-down period and ritual as we get ready for sleep can make a massive difference to our sleep patterns.
Can’t imagine a whole evening without devices?
Even just switching off an hour or so before bed can make the world of difference to the quality of your sleep!
Adjust Your Sleeping Position
While it can be difficult to change up the habit of sleeping a certain way – if your sleeping position is causing issues such as back pain, it could be the only option for alleviating this.
According to familydoctor.org, the best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your knees. This can also help align your spine and ensure your weight is properly distributed across the mattress.
If this doesn’t ease any back pain, however, it’s likely best to speak with a professional chiropractor so they can see if anything else is going on.
Stick To A Routine
If you’re someone who goes to bed at 9pm on a weekday and 2am on a weekend, for example, then this could be disrupting your sleep more than you think.
Falling asleep and waking up at consistent times every day allows your body to settle into a routine of waking and sleeping in harmony with its circadian rhythm. Alongside this, try and maintain a cool temperature (+/- 18 deg C) in the room as this will make it easier to get good quality sleep
Our bodies are essentially hard-wired to sleep when the sun sets and wake when the sun rises. A useful tip is to dim the lights within the hour we prepare to go to sleep. Following and sticking to a consistent wake/sleep schedule gets your body used to when it’s time to rest – therefore improving your sleep overall.
While you’ve likely heard of mindfulness and may have dismissed the concept as nothing more than a trend, it can actually do wonders for your sleep quality.
Put simply, mindfulness is the practice of being in the ‘here and now’ – focused solely on the present and accepting things as they are. For example, while you’re lying in bed trying to sleep, an example of mindful thoughts could be the following:
- I can feel my breath move in and out of my lungs as I inhale and exhale
- I can hear the faint sounds of cars outside
- I can taste the toothpaste I’ve just used
- I can smell the remains of the candle I was burning earlier
By simply noticing and not trying to change anything, you’re helping to relax your mind in preparation for sleep. Try it tonight, you may surprise yourself!
Reduce your caffeine intake
Coffee has a quarter life of 12 hours and if you are sensitive to the effects of this stimulant, it may disrupt your sleeping patterns that same night. Avoiding excessive caffeine in the afternoon and replacing that with a healthy caffeine-free alternative may reap massive benefits in that wonderful nourishing quality sleep that is so important for our optimum function.
At Morley Chiropractic Clinic, for every person we treat, we offer a fully tailored approach to ensure you’re getting the absolute most out of each appointment. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, contact us today to find out more about how we can help.