A good night’s sleep is incredibly powerful, enriching our physical and mental health and wellness. We all can agree to it, however, some of us don’t have a good sleep daily. No matter what your relationship with sleeping is, there’s no doubt you’ve felt the effects of not getting enough of it!
March is Sleep Awareness Month, so you should take a moment to ask yourself a few questions about your sleep schedule.
- Do you wake up tired in the morning or always need an afternoon nap?
- Do you have trouble falling and staying asleep?
- Do you toss and turn in bed and get up with pain?
- Are you consuming copious amounts of caffeine or sugar to stay awake during the workday?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep on reading. Chances are your sleep habits are in need of a major overhaul. Sleep is a recipe with a few ingredients, and the key is the timing.
How does lack of sleep affect your health?
Sleep is just one of the many things our bodies require to keep them running at their top performance. Although it may not seem like a huge deal, lack of sleep can result in a wide range of negative consequences, such as:
- Compromised immune system
- Weight gain
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased inflammation
- Increased substance addiction
- Shorter lifespans
- Impacts on learning and memory
- Mental & emotional health issues
- Untimely aging
Sleep is the body’s uninterrupted time to repair tissue damage, heal wounds, restore organ function, stabilize chemical imbalance, refresh areas of the brain that control mood and behavior, and improve performance. Restful sleep is a critical part of maintaining good health.
When we don’t get enough rest at night, it’s nearly impossible to catch up on those hours. As a result, our moods can nose dive, our ability to focus gets thrown off, and our chances of developing chronic diseases increases.
Ingredient #1 Habits: Do you have good habits to start a sleep recipe?
Ways to improve your sleeping habits
No matter what is preferred- night owl or early bird- you can have a good sleep habit. You can schedule your day accordingly. There are many ways to improve your sleeping habits and get the kind of quality rest you need to function every day. Some of these don’t sound that fun, but if you make a small attempt to improve your sleep quality, gradually adapting to the best quality sleep routine want to get the most out of your sleeping routine, you need to implement them.
- Have a winding down routine for bedtime, like switching to relaxed mode after dinner time.
- Light inhibits the secretion of a natural hormone called melatonin in the brain. Limit excitatory lights and sounds. Instead, dim the lights and turn on soothing, low pitch sounds to help our nervous system relax.
- Relaxing warm bedtime baths will help decrease tension built up during the day.
- Limit your in-bed activities (binge-watching tv-shows or scrolling on your phone) to train your mind to always associate sleep with your bed.
- Use caffeine as it suits you, if it keeps you awake then don’t take it in the afternoon.
- Decrease stimulation from blue lights on your electronics and other sources of bright light until at least after dinner. All screens should be in an “eye-protective” state.
- Engage in as much physical activity during the awake time, so your body will be tired by bedtime.
- Avoid exercising within two hours of your bedtime to help your body’s natural process for releasing the chemicals that induce sleep.
- Don’t let the alarm break your sound sleep if you don’t have a reason to wake up.
- Plan your day according to your sleep habits!
- Catch up with your rest by sleeping when you have time.
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it all week, excluding on weekends.
Studies show deep sleep is most rejuvenating and vital for a healthy mind and body, human bodies repair themselves and children grow during the phase of deep sleep.
Meditation helps getting maximum time in deep sleep. It’s also vital that you get an uninterrupted sleep.
Ingredient #2 Sleeping Surface: Do you have a comfortable position to complete your sleep recipe?
Why your sleeping position is important
It’s important that we learn to sleep in the best position for proper spinal alignment. The better shape our spine is in, the lower our chances of developing neck, pain, or shoulder pain becomes. The better our spinal alignment is, the better our overall posture will be during the day.
Do you sleep on your back? If so, placing a small pillow under your knees can help to reduce stress and strain on your spine, and support the curve in your lower back. The pillow your head is resting on should support not only your head but the curve of your neck and shoulders as well.
Are you a stomach sleeper? Sleeping on your stomach can cause stress on the back because the spine can be thrown out of position. To avoid this, place a flat pillow under your stomach and pelvis area. This will keep your spine in better alignment, as will sleeping with a flat pillow under your head, or without a pillow at all.
Are you a side sleeper? This is the most commonly used sleep position. It is extremely important to have good neck support for all side sleepers. The thickness of the neck pillow may create muscle spasms and straining on either one or the other side of the neck. Which may cause pain and headache. Roll up a soft towel and put it under a thin pillow on your preferred side of sleeping to support your neck in a good alignment.
How pain can affect sleep
Pain prevents us from being comfortable in our preferred position, therefore disrupting our natural sleep cycles. If you’ve ever had an injury or suffered from pain of any sort, you probably are already well aware of how hard it can be to get a comfortable night’s sleep. You toss and turn and adjust your pillows, you might try taking painkiller and melatonin supplements, but if your pain is bad enough it will most likely keep you awake.
The position you’re able to sleep in comfortably also depends on whether or not you’re experiencing chronic pain.
Treating the problem at the source
Chronic pain can be treated! To address your chronic physical pain, we are here.
At Jeevam Therapy, your habits and sleep patterns can be assessed to determine if the way you’re resting at night is contributing to your pain.
We can also evaluate any chronic pain you’ve been living with and make sure that you get proper help to be pain-free and get a good sleep.