So, what can you do about it?
As it turns out there are many things that you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. Pick your favorite one to try first. Really stick with it for a month so you can get personal feedback on how it works for you. And, then try adding another one of the ideas below into your personal routine.
Our Top Rated Ideas To Improve Your Sleep
1. Make Sure Your Bedroom is Dark, Quiet, and Cool.
Ambient light from outside can disrupt your sleep pattern. If you need an inexpensive option to start with put aluminum foil over your windows. If may not look great but it’s an easy way to implement this idea today to see how it will work for you.
Turn your phone to silent so you don’t hear all the notifications throughout the night. Or, better yet, leave your phone in another room and use an alarm clock to wake you up. There is tons of research to prove that having our phones in your bedroom has the potential to disrupt your sleep.
Personally, I don’t like a cool room in general but I have found that sleeping in a cool room does help to improve the quality of my sleep. It might help to have a fan on (which also provides some white noise) or just keep a window cracked.
2. Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents made you go to bed at the same time every night? You may have even implemented this with your kids. Keeping a regular bed time helps your body get on schedule and gets you into a sleep rhythm.
3. Turn of the Screens one Hour Before Bed.
You may have heard this before and wondered what it was about screen time right before bed. The blue light from computers, tablets, and the TV disrupts the production of melatonin and combats sleepiness. My favorite thing to implement during that hour is a regular bed time routinue.
4. Implement a Regular Bed Time Routine.
This routine should be designed to help your body know that it’s time to go to bed. You should create a routine that is relaxing for your body. This should be personalized to you but may include: washing your face, brushing your teeth, closing up the house, starting the dishwasher, tidying up the clutter, laying out your clothes for the next day, taking a bath or shower, applying lotion, stretching, meditation/relaxation techniques, listening to a positive podcast, reading a book, or writing down your to do list for the next day.
One of my favorite things to do before I go to sleep is write down 3 things that I am grateful for that day. They may be small things (I actually made it to bed by 10 pm!) or they may be big things (I finally finished that house project!) but finding gratitude before you sleep leaves you in a more positive mindset.
5. Sleep on a Good Mattress.
A good mattress should support you in the right position without allowing for any gaps. Your entire spine should be fully supported without any pressure points on the bony spots. These pressure points vary based on which position your sleep in but you should feel comfortable enough that you can sleep in the same position all night and not wake up feeling sore.
This is a particularly good tip for anyone who tosses and turns throughout the night. The most common cause of this is a poor mattress that is past it’s prime. I know that mattress shopping is not a fun activity but this point is crucial to getting a good night sleep.
6. Choose the Right Pillow.
Making sure you have a pillow that properly supports you while sleeping is critical to getting good sleep. If you sleep on your back, you want a thin pillow so your neck is not in an overly flexed position. While side sleepers need enough support to “fill the gap” between your shoulder and neck.
And, please, never sleep on your stomach. This puts an excessive amount of pressure through your neck and will lead to neck pain as you age. Lying on your stomach forces your neck to be rotated throughout the night leading to the muscles and ligaments stretching out. Eventually, this will lead to neck problems. So, if you are a stomach sleeper, it’s time to change that habit now.
7. Use Pillows for Support While Sleeping.
Side sleepers with low back pain often find that a pillow between their knees helps to improve their alignment while sleeping. This also works if you have hip pain.
While back sleepers find decreased stress on their body if they put a pillow underneath the knees. This helps to decreased stress through your spine and also decreases stress through the knees.
If you are struggling with shoulder or neck pain, placing a pillow underneath your arm can add support so your muscles can relax. You may like to put a pillow in front of you so you can “hug” it which also helps to support your shoulder and decrease tension through your neck.
8. Get Moving During the Day.
Adding in some light exercise during the day can help your body prepare for rest at night. If you currently are not exercising every day the easiest way I know to start is to walk for 15 minutes each day. It can be as simple as walking out your front door and around the block. Or you may want to find a local trail to get out in nature.
9. Relaxation Techniques to Quiet Your Mind so You Can Sleep.
I am sure you have heard of many different relaxation techniques. There are tons of apps to download meditations which are helpful for people to quiet their minds. Having a guided meditation can help people who have difficulty focusing on relaxing.
For me, I like to keep things really simple. My two favorite techniques are belly breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
Belly breathing is performed while lying on your back. Why not just do it in bed – then you are already relaxed! Place both your hands on your belly and take a deep breath in so your hands rise up. Slowly exhale so your hands go back down. You may need to start with breathing through your mouth if you are very stressed. Try to work towards breathing in and out through your nose. This helps to increase relaxation with belly breathing.
For the progressive muscle relaxation you also want to be lying on your back. Start by contracting the muscles of your face for 10 seconds. I like to smile big and shut my eyes. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax completely. Repeat this pattern through your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms and hands, stomach, buttocks, hamstrings, front of the leg, calves (point those toes), and feet. In between each contraction, take 3 deep breaths.
Choose your favorite and get started today! Again, remember that it is important to make this a habit so you need to implement the technique daily for 21 days. Once you start seeing some positive changes add in another technique until you have perfected the routine that works for your body.
If you are looking for someone to help you eliminate your pain so that your sleep quality improves, we encourage you to sign up for one of our Free Discovery Visits. During this visit, we will listen to your story and answer all of your questions about our holistic approach. Then you can decide if we are the best fit for you to not only eliminate your pain but get you sleeping well and enjoying all the activities that you love doing.