Are Your Sleep Habits Out of Whack?
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us complain about sleep as we sip coffee and push through the day, but we may need to find better answers if sleeplessness persists.
- Do you wake up at 3 a.m. and struggle to get back to sleep
- Do you stay up with electronics every night to catch Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert
- Is your sleeplessness increasing
Wherever you are with sleep issues, finding solid solutions could improve your health and your career. A heathy sleep routine can Improve the immune system and protect the body from cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Harvard Health researchers are also finding sleeplessness can make serious inroads on careers, diminishing performance and lowering expectations. Often individuals power through, accepting sleeplessness as a cost of doing business, but they may lose their creative spark, intuition, and spontaneity.
Ways to Turn Sleep Around
Examine your day – The things that happen in the day are often the ones keeping you up at night. Find ways to resolve conflicts with others, and work out the best solutions for family problems, finances, or job pressures. When you lift that load, sleep may be a lot easier. Getting that recommended 7 to 9 hours may not be as hard.
Reduce caffeine – Shutting down caffeine after lunch may help you sleep at night. Caffeine can stay in the system for up to 12 hours. Substitute juices and waters, and hold wine and beer consumption down at dinner. Also avoid caffeine loaded black teas and energy drinks.
Avoid smoking – Nicotine can be as powerful as caffeine in stimulating the brain and speeding up the heart. Some heavy smokers wake up during the night, craving a cigarette. Do whatever it takes to start a no smoking program. Better sleep will be one of the many dividends. If you are still working on a withdrawal program, avoid smoking for two hours before bedtime.
Add some exercise – Choose aerobic exercises approved by your doctor such as walking, biking or swimming, and make time for them in your daily schedule. You may find you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep. Avoid exercising two hours before bedtime, which can turn it into a stimulus.
Establish a sleep schedule – Go to bed the same time every night, including weekends. Get up at the same time every morning, even if you went to bed later or did not sleep well. Avoid napping and stick with the schedule to encourage a natural tiredness that reduces insomnia and lowers depression.
If you are still having sleep problems after working on the problem, see your doctor to make sure there are no other health factors involved.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Loveland, Colo.