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Start Sleeping Better With Some Simple Tips

By Sandy Schroeder

If you just dream of a good night's sleep, it may be time to take some steps to create the good sleep habits that make it happen.

Harvard Health suggests making sleep a priority no matter what your issues are. Insomnia, night shifts and ongoing stress can be helped.

Make your bedroom a sublime retreat - Use light-blocking drapes and an air filter to purify air and screen out noise. Move all extra furniture such as sewing machines or exercise equipment, and bring in some greenery. Update your mattress and pillows and treat yourself to new bedding.

Skip caffeine, nicotine and alcohol - Avoid stimulants and spicy foods at least two hours before bedtime. Shut down caffeine early in the afternoon and limit alcohol and other chemicals.

Create a soothing sleep ritual - Soft jazz, simple stretches or a warm bath can serve as sleep cues to wind down and drift off. Choose light reading instead of TV and shut down all electronics at least two hours before bedtime. If you have ongoing worries, consider using a journal to write them down and do what you can to alleviate family, work or other pressure points.

Set a regular bedtime - Establish the same bedtime every night including weekends. Gradually your body will fall into a groove and you will be naturally tired. You may wake up at the same time every morning too.

Make light work for you - Let in the morning light and eliminate all blue lights from your room at night. Our ancestors went to bed at sundown and got up at sunrise. We should take a cue from them.

Keep naps short and early - Try eliminating naps to see if you sleep better. If you do take a nap, make it early in the day.

Get some outdoor exercise daily - Natural tiredness follows much more easily when you get a dose of sunlight and at least half an hour of exercise every day.

Watch liquids at night - Drink enough to stay hydrated but drink a little less to avoid having to get up during the night.

Keep dinners light - Opt or light healthy suppers and go easy on the alcohol. Heavy meals late in the evening complicate digestion and may create restless sleep.

Put tiredness to work for you - If you are a night owl do not try to impose an arbitrary early bedtime. Let your body dictate a natural time and then stick with it. It may take a while to make it a habit, but natural tiredness can do a lot to help you sleep better.

Do a checkup - Just to be sure, there is nothing else interfering with your sleep, schedule a visit with your doctor and discuss your sleep issues.

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

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