With less sunlight in the mornings during the cooler months of the year, we know that a good night’s sleep is key to feeling refreshed and alert in the morning. Not getting the seven or eight hours sleep you need may leave you feeling grumpy and tired all day. But here’s something you may not know: You have far more control over the quality of your sleep than you think. Here are a few tips to help you sleep smarter through the night:
- Test Your Pillow. Your pillow should help keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Try out a variety of pillows in the store to find the one that feels comfortable and works best for you. Different types include memory foam, fibre, feather and water (like the ones we suggest and have in our office!).
- Choose a Good Mattress. Your mattress should be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape, but firm enough to support your spine. If you share your bed, look for one that provides independent support for each sleeper.
- Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach. Chiropractors recommend sleeping on your back or side. These positions allow your head, neck and spine to relax into their natural alignment. This reduces stress and strain on your muscles and joints that can disrupt your sleep and lead to aches in the morning.
- Low Back Pain? If you have low back pain and sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees to take some of the pressure off your back. Side-sleepers should put a pillow between their knees for support.
- Get to Bed on Time. Try to go to bed at the same time every night – even on weekends – to keep your sleep cycle in a regular rhythm. Avoid naps, but if you must, limit naps to less than 30 minutes, and be sure to have your siesta before 3 p.m.
- Help Your Body Wind Down. Avoid caffeinated beverages, heavy meals, alcohol and vigorous exercise within two hours of bedtime – they all can disrupt sleep.
Sleep is an important aspect of your overall health – both your body and mind rest and refresh while sleeping. If you have continued difficulty getting a good night’s rest, ask one of our doctors who can help identify the problem and find solutions.