To Your Health
May, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 05)
Sleep is truly an important time for our bodies to rest and regenerate. Since we spend so much time engaged in this activity, it makes sense that we should take a closer look at our sleep habits.
By evaluating sleep position and mattress/pillow selection, you will improve your ability to experience deeper and more restful sleep. Changes won't happen overnight, but you will see results over time. If you're have any questions about how to get a good night's sleep or want more information, talk to your doctorSet the Stage for Quality Sleep
Getting enough sleep is only half the battle; making sure you enjoy quality sleep is an entirely different story. Here are seven tips to make sleep a truly restful, rejuvenating experience, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com):
- Stick to a schedule. Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day whenever possible; this consistency helps reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle and can help you fall asleep better.
- Eat light and right. Eat a light dinner about two hours before sleeping. Avoid foods that can prevent restful sleep, such as spicy or greasy foods. Too much liquid can also affect sleep by necessitating repeat bathroom visits during the night.
- Exercise regularly (but not right before bed). Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help facilitate quick, restful sleep. However, don't exercise within three hours of bedtime; you may find it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Create a sleep oasis. Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Adjust lighting, humidity, temperature and noise level. Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets or a fan - it's all about creating the ideal environment for deep, relaxing sleep.
- Don't sleep the day away. Limit daytime sleep to about a half-hour in the mid-afternoon. If you work nights, keep your window coverings closed so sunlight, which adjusts the body's internal clock, doesn't interrupt sleep.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down - take a warm bath or shower, read a book, or listen to soothing music. Keep the lights low to help transition your body and mind toward sleep.
- Time it right. If you don't fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up and do something else. Go back to bed when you're tired - not overtired, but ready to fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night.
Kevin M. Wong, DC, a 1996 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, Calif., practices full-time in Orinda, Calif. He is also an instructor for Foot Levelers, Inc.