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Let Sleep Come to the Rescue in a Hectic World

By Sandy Schroeder

Our culture and fast-moving pace can keep us awake and make it hard to show up fresh and rested every morning. If you find it easy to hit the snooze button in the morning, and tough to wind down at night, it's time for change so sleep can keep you healthy and well.

First, let's put sleep in the priority column along with the health habits we all seek.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat right
  • Get enough exercise
  • Take care of your teeth

Harvard Health researchers tell us making sleep a priority can strengthen the immune system and lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, excess weight, and diabetes.

So How Do You Make It Happen?

Here are some good ways to start.

Make your bedroom a retreat - Toss out all of the extra furniture and bring in an air filter and plants to clean the air and screen out noise.  Add new bedding, and soft lighting and update your mattress and pillows. Use blackout drapes to control light and shut down all of the blue light electronics. Shut down laptops, TV and cell phones about two hours before bedtime.

Create a sleep ritual - Soft music, warm baths, simple stretching routines, simple snacks and a good book can be cues to relax and rest.

Establish a quiet zone in the evening - As bedtime approaches, slow everyone down and enjoy a totally quiet house. Soon everyone may slip into the habit and sleep better.

Establish regular bedtimes - If you go to bed at the same time most nights, your body will slip into the rhythm too. If you can, keep the same times on the weekend. You will probably wake up on your own at about the same time every morning.

Clear the decks - Whatever is going on in your life, worries over family, finances, illness or work, can keep you up, or wake you up in the middle of the night. Get some help if you need it. Talk your problems through with friends, family or a counselor and take steps to find solutions. You will sleep better knowing you are working on the problem.

Limit caffeine - Stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks in the early afternoon.

Get outside and exercise - Daily walking, running or jogging with time outdoors will help you rest better, but researchers say you should never exercise within two hours of bedtime. Give your body that space to wind down.

Skip spicy foods and heavy meals - Keep snacks simple and reserve full dinners for early evening. Also limit alcohol and smoking before bedtime.

If sleep is still an issue, see your doctor to work through the problem. Whatever you do, don't give up. Keep looking for good ways to sleep better.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in.Schaumburg, Ill.

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