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Here's the Straight Scoop on Sleep

By Sandy Schroeder

Many of us struggle to get enough sleep, trying all sorts of tips, and turning to ineffective sleep medications to get relief.

Where Do You Fit?

  • Are you drowsy every day?
  • Do you only get 5 or 6 hours sleep a night?
  • Is your sleep restless and disturbed?
  • Do you go up and down with quality of sleep?

Harvard Health researchers have some good answers that may help you rest well.

Listen to your body - Let your body tell you when bedtime really is. When you are sleepy, drifting off may be easier. If the day's issues are still buzzing through your brain, take a minute and write them down. Then try some deep breathing to let everything go.

Go to bed at the same time each night - Once you have established the best bedtime for you, keep that time, even on weekends. When you do, you will find waking up is easier as the body's natural clock takes over, helping you get enough, but not too much sleep. When that bedtime becomes a habit, it will help your body wind down.

Create a soothing sleep haven - Remove all miscellaneous furniture and add an air filter to screen out noise and add fresh clean air. Use blackout drapes to eliminate light, and make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable. Create a cool, quiet, dark sleep retreat that invites sleep.

Shut electronics down to wind down - Reduce the electronic stimulus, shutting down phones, tablets and other electronics two hours before bedtime. If you do use your phone or tablet, reduce blue light impact with Apple's Night Shift or Android's f.lux programs.

Develop a comfortable schedule - When exercise, meals, work and leisure activities settle into a comfortable rhythm, your sleep patterns may smooth out, too.

Clean the slate - If you have medical issues, chronic pain or specific worries that interfere with sleep, take steps to find relief and positive solutions. Sometimes just knowing you are making an effort to improve things will help you sleep better.

Stop smoking - If you are still smoking, try one of the new effective resources out there and stop. See your doctor if you need more help to make it happen.

Limit caffeine - You may still enjoy your morning coffee, or tea, but you will sleep better if you cut off caffeine after lunch. Caffeine can stay in the system for up to 12 hours and make it tough to fall asleep.

Watch the drinks - Some people use alcohol to drift off to sleep at night, but later it may wake them up. Drink moderately and shut down alcohol at least two hours before bedtime.

If sleeplessness continues in spite of all of your efforts, see your doctor to discuss the issue and trace any other causes.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Saint Peters, Mo.

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