SLEEP SERIES

HOW DO I SLEEP BETTER?  

By: Samantha deCastro

Now let’s talk sleep hygiene. This has been a big of a buzzy term lately. Given the structure of our lives, we’re constantly being bombarded by stimulation, and getting proper sleep is getting more and more difficult for many of us.

So how can we change that?

Make sleep a priority: Those emails will be there in the morning, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy for 4th time won’t change what happens (I mean. No one does that. Right…), and if the dishes don’t get done tonight, no one will know but you.

Have a schedule: Getting to bed and waking up close to the same times everyday is very helpful. Yes. Even weekends. The body likes routine. Give it what it wants.

Avoid Stimulants: This includes caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and exercise. If you do use any of these things or exercise, try to do it earlier in the day. Some people aren’t as affected by these substances or activities, but if you are struggling with sleep and have these as part of your life, it may be worth a trail of changing when they occur.

Medications and Supplements: If you have something you are taking that gets you going, maybe talk to your doctor about when the best time to take it is. Also, you can ask when it is best to take certain pills before bed, as things like magnesium can actually help with sleep.

Set up your environment: Have a good mattress and pillow, comfortable sheets, and blackout curtains. Set you room temperature to the cool side of normal. Maybe look at getting an oil diffuser and using lavender oils in it. Or perhaps a full humidifier (hello dry Calgary air) if things like nose congestion or nose bleeds are an issue. Removing the technology from your room is also important. If you are like me and use your phone as your alarm, turn it on airplane mode and flip it upside down. Even that little charging light can affect your sleep.

Have a routine: There is a reason we develop bedtime routines with children, yet for some reason, when we grow up, we take that as a sign to just throw routine out the window. We do what we want. When we want. But there is a method to the madness. Having a routine will trigger hormones in your brain to start signaling the body to sleep. Try things like taking a shower or relaxing bath, driving herbal tea (chamomile is great for sleep), reading a book (a real one if you can) and generally unwinding from the day.

Do Not Lay in Bed Awake: If you’ve done all you can, ad still can’t manage to sleep, get up and try parts of your sleep routine again. Sometimes you just need a reset.

Get help for your pain: Neck pain got you down? Ragging headache not letting you sleep? This is where your chiropractor can help. Let them know what is getting in the way of your goodnight sleep and they can provide treatment and recommendations to get you on the right track.

Speak to a professional: If the sleep just isn’t coming, it is important to speak to your trusted healthcare provider. There can be more serious underlying conditions leading to your inability to get the needed hours of quality sleep, such as sleep apnea. A referral can be done for a sleep study to determine where the issues are, and what can be done to get you a good nights rest!