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5 Tips To Improve Your Sleep Quality
Did you know poor sleep quality or inadequate hours of sleep can have adverse effects on your health? Fatigue, weight gain, elevated blood pressure and a weakened immune system are just a few ways a lack of quality zzz’s can take a toll.
Sleep=Restore, Replenish, Regenerate, Repair
Sleep is a critical time for the body and mind. Neurons get regenerated, synaptic connections are repaired and critical hormones get replenished! To reap these benefits you must reach the deep restorative phases of sleep known as slow-wave sleep. How can you help yourself sleep better when competing with our busy, stressful, modern lives? Here are some simple ways you can create better habits and achieve healthy sleep:
- Set A Regular Sleep Schedule. Having a defined time to go to bed at night and awaken in morning will help develop a natural circadian rhythm. While there is individual variability, 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night is highly recommended.
- Make Your Bedroom a Restful Environment. Avoid eating and working in your bedroom and treat it as a sacred space for relaxation. Make this a zone free of televisions, computers and phones as the screens emit light that stimulate wakefulness. Make sure your room is fully dark and free from extraneous noise.
- Allow your body to rest NOT digest at night. Avoid large meals, alcohol, chocolate, caffeine and nicotine within 2-3 hours before bed. Increasing blood sugar, insulin or blood pressure will make it more difficult to fall asleep and achieve the deep sleep phases.
- Move your body and bask in the sun. Exercising in the sunlight helps promote healthy sleep and also improves the natural sleep:wake cycle. Yoga or Qi Gong outdoors is a wonderful way to get things moving but also can help reduce stress.
- Get your thoughts on paper. If you find your mind racing before bed give yourself permission to put your concerns aside in order to bring your focus back to rest. Writing things down helps to acknowledge what you are thinking/feeling. You don’t have to worry about forgetting if you jot it down and often many things are more easily and clearly addressed after a good night of sleep. Meditation, breathing exercises and acupuncture can also help calm the mind and modulate stress. You may not be able to make all your stress vanish but you certainly can help your body process it in a healthier way.
Naps. Not just for babies.
Napping can be very helpful when you can’t get enough sleep at night or work irregular shifts. You should limit naps to 20-30 minutes at most. To make sure you don’t interfere with your normal night’s sleep, avoid naps too late in the day or in the evening. If you are feeling fatigued and unrested often mention it to your doctor. Together you can explore whether your sleep hygiene and habits just need some adjusting or if a sleep disorder is perhaps an underlying issue.
Bad Sleep Habits vs Sleep Disorder
Sleep disorders are fairly common. Since sleep is so important it is essential to correct the rhythm. If you gave it a good and consistent try to create positive sleep habits and are still feeling tired upon waking, restless, you are unable to fall or stay asleep or finding yourself dozing off during the day, these are signals you should tell your healthcare provider about. Some other common flags are heavy snoring, a partner observing that you stopped breathing (even if only for a few moments) and if you awaken yourself because of gagging or choking.For more information about sleep health and sleep medicine:https://healthbridgeinfo.com/services/sleep-medicine/https://www.tuck.com/