11 steps to a better night’s sleep

sleep

Ohhh to fall asleep and stay asleep as easily as we did when we were kids(!) Sleep is one of the most important restorative functions of the brain.

Helps us remember to pick up milk, fight off the flu and react in time to avoid that driver on a cell phone. And just feel good. But it isn’t so easy for two out of three of us. Here are 11 steps to take to help you sleep better:

1. Manage stress.

Being poor or unemployed doesn’t help. But everyone can exercise. Just walk around the house or neighborhood nonstop for 20-30 minutes at a time. Just not within two or three hours of bedtime.

2. Step outside for some natural sunlight for at least 15 minutes each day.

Yes, even on weekends.

3. Limit caffeine at night.

Coffee, tea and chocolate.

4. Don’t use electronics right before bed.

This includes TV, computers and smartphones. Reading or meditating is good. Use an alarm clock with a red LED.

5. A light bedtime snack of around 150 calories is fine.

But not much more. If you get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, drink room temperature not cold water.

6. Antihistamines can help.

But long-term use can cause memory problems, especially in the elderly.

7. Wear socks to bed.

This will help regulate your body temperature so you can fall asleep.

8. Sleep on darker yellow, orange, red or black sheets.

Lighter colors reflect light and stop the production of melatonin in your brain.

9. Keep your bedroom cool and dark.

Sleep masks are always an option.

10. Buy a new mattress if it’s older than 10 years.

Choose one that’s firm enough to support your spine. If you tend to like softer mattresses, try a firmer one with a  pillow top. Every few months, rotate your mattress clockwise or upside down.

11. If you have back or neck pain, sleep on your back.

If you do sleep on your back, use a thin pillow that will keep your head and neck in alignment with your upper back and spine. Then put another one under your knees as well as one on each side.

good pillow will keep your head and neck in alignment with your upper back and spine. A firmer one will support your head.

If you’re on your side, put a thicker pillow under your head as well as one between your legs and an extra pillow in front as well as behind your body.

Sleeping on your stomach just isn’t the best position to avoid pain But it might be good if you want to snore less. In any event, either skip a pillow or use a thin one if you’re going to sleep on your stomach.

For more information…

Read about insomnia and take this interactive sleep quiz. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with sleep. They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice to help you get some rest.

Robert W. Ferguson, D.C., F.I.A.M.A., state-licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist, sees patients at 2250 W. 86th Street, Ste. 100, on the north side of Indianapolis by Le Peep restaurant. Just look for the orange sign.

Chiropractic Rehabilitation & Acupuncture now accepts Healthy Indiana Plan for chiropractic services, and most insurance for chiropractic therapy and acupuncture.

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