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Reprogram Your Sleep to Rethink Your Life

By Sandy Schroeder

Sleep is really a key ingredient to health that most of us ignore too often. Sliding by on four or five hours can become an unhealthy habit that needs correcting.

When you switch over to seven to nine hours of sleep, you may be amazed at how much better the world looks. Little details become clear, and minor frustrations simply drop away. I made this discovery a few months ago. Enough sleep simply changes everything.

Consider setting up a daily schedule that makes sleep a priority and see how much better you feel.

Set a regular bedtime - When you fix a bedtime and stick to it, your body will respond and it will be easier to drift off. As you rest better, waking up at the same time in the morning will become more automatic too.

Develop a soothing sleep routine - Skip those habit-forming sleep aids, and create a sleep ritual instead. A warm bath, simple snack and good book or soft music will become automatic sleep cues.

Rethink caffeine - If you run on coffee morning, noon and night, you may have to taper off gradually, but when you do you may sleep much better. Limit your coffee in the daytime, and shut it down by early afternoon.

Get outside and get moving - Try for three 10-minute walks or one 30-minute one every day and pick a favorite route. Head to the park with your kids after dinner, or take a walk around the neighborhood in the morning. Exercise and sunshine will conspire to help you rest better at night.

Shut the electronics down - Make the effort to shut your phone, TV and laptop down an hour before bedtime to give your brain a chance to slow down and mellow out. You may be amazed at how much better you sleep when you abandon the 24/7 alert routine.

Eat healthy, but light - Enjoy an evening meal with your family with fresh fish, lean meats, fruits and veggies. Shut down your phones and take turns talking about your day.

Enjoy a quiet time before bedtime - As the evening moves on, turn down the sound and the lights and help everyone slow down. Parents find warm baths and quiet story times help kids wind down and sleep better too.

Set the right tone - Use air filters to screen out noise and blackout drapes to block light. Add some plants to improve the air, and move all unnecessary items out of the bedroom. Create a sleep retreat with soft colors, and an adequate mattress and pillows. Sleep tight!

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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