Seven Ways to Improve Your Sleep Quality
It may seem impossible to drift off to dreamland when you’re staring at the alarm clock at 2 am – but you actually have a lot more control over your sleep quality than you think. The key to snoozing longer and better is healthy sleep habits. These habits are known as “sleep hygiene” and have the power to turn restlessness into restful zzzs. Incorporate these habits into your nightly routine and get the good night’s rest you’ve been dreaming about.
1) Increase your light exposure during the day
Your circadian rhythm is what helps you stay awake and lets your body know when it’s time to go to bed. Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm can enhance sleep quality and duration. You can achieve this by exposing yourself to natural sunlight every day. Have your morning coffee by the window, keep curtains open and walk outside to get the light exposure you need. Artificial bright light works too if there’s not enough sunshine where you live.
2) Exercise (but not before bed)
Active people experience deeper, more restorative sleep and feel less sleepy during the day too. Regular exercise also minimizes symptoms of sleep apnea and insomnia. Try to get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise if you want to enjoy these benefits. It’s best to work out at least three hours before hitting the hay as exercise increases metabolism and body temperature which can prevent you from falling asleep.
3) Watch what you eat and drink
Stop drinking fluids at least two hours before lights out to prevent frequent bathroom trips during the night. Having a heavy meal before bed isn’t a good idea either as indigestion can make it hard to get some shuteye. If you’re hungry, stick to a light snack such as a banana, glass of milk or portion of a turkey sandwich. Stay away from caffeine and nicotine and pass on the nightcap – alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but it disrupts your sleep cycle and prevents your body from entering deep sleep.
4) Create and stick to a relaxing bedtime ritual
Following a routine can get you mentally and physically ready for sleep. Spend your evenings doing relaxing activities like:
- Reading a book
- Stretching exercises
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Listening to a podcast or soothing music
- Spending time with family
5) Keep your room at the right temperature
If you’ve tried sleeping on a hot summer’s night, then you know how difficult it can be to doze off. The temperature of your bedroom has a huge impact on your sleep quality so it’s important to find a temperature that’s comfortable for you. Most people prefer sleeping in cooler rooms that are between 18°C to 20°C.
6) Try meditation
Some people struggle with shutting their mind off at bedtime. Relaxation techniques like meditation can help you let go of the day so your brain can power down. You can master the basics of meditation with guided audio sessions on YouTube or from apps such as Headspace or Calm. Already familiar with meditation? Try practising different techniques including breathing exercises, counting, visualizations and mindful body scanning.
7) See an acupuncturist
If you’ve tried these natural remedies and still aren’t sleeping soundly, it may indicate that you have an underlying health condition like sleep apnea or insomnia. These conditions are more common than you realize – it’s estimated over three million Canadians struggle with falling and staying asleep. One study even claims that almost a quarter of men and 9% of women have sleep apnea.
Acupuncture is an excellent solution if you’ve been struggling with sleep issues for a while. It’s also a great option if you don’t want to rely on sleeping pills or risk the potentially harmful side effects that come with it. Using acupuncture to treat insomnia isn’t new – acupuncturists have been doing it for centuries and a growing number of people are finding success with this ancient Chinese practice.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, sleep disorders are caused by energy imbalances within the body. By placing ultra-thin needles in certain areas, acupuncturists are able to clear blockages and rebalance the flow of energy. Acupuncture slows the production of stress hormones too which is why so many people report feeling a sense of calm after an appointment. By leaving you relaxed and in a better state of mind, this natural form of healthcare sets you up for a good night’s sleep.
Are you fed up with staring at the alarm clock and ready to put an end to all the tossing and turning? Take the first step towards better sleep by coming in for a FREE Discovery Visit. This no-obligation visit gives you the chance to ask questions and discuss your health concerns with one of our top-rated acupuncturists. Treatment options and a personalized care plan will also be presented so you can see a clear path to recovery before you leave our clinic.