Start Getting Better Sleep in 5 Simple Steps

It’s no secret that sleep is needed for our mental and physical function. In one of our previous blogs we talked about all the benefits of adequate sleep. Although, we might not always get the proper amount of sleep, we all know how we feel when we don’t sleep well. But despite how much we hate being a walking zombie from no sleep, 1 in 3 American Adults do not get healthy amounts of sleep. If you’re one of the 33% that don’t get enough sleep, we’re going to give you some tips to make sure whatever hours you do get leave you feeling refreshed.

There are many factors that contribute to how we sleep. There are some we can’t control, like living on a busy street or the neighbors blasting music all night. However, there are many factors we can control and utilize to wake up feeling rested every time. Start implementing some of these simple tips and see the difference.

1. Exercise

A study by Bisson et al. found that daily active time was positively related to sleep quality. This means the more the participants exercised, the better they would sleep. As for exercise, the participants just needed to increase their daily step count to see changes in the quality of their sleep. Exercise will also help decrease stress and ultimately help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

2. Keep the bed for sleep

In our now virtual world, many of us are spending much more time at home on our laptops. While working in bed might be comfy, it is actually confusing for the body’s natural rhythm. The Sleep Foundation says: “You want a strong mental association between your bed and sleep, so try to keep activities in your bed limited strictly to sleep and sex.”

3. Create a sleep-inducing bedroom

You can improve sleep by making your room ideal for sleeping. This often means cool, dark and quiet. Too much light can confuse your circadian rhythm and your body might not realize it’s bedtime. To combat this try blackout curtains or a sleep mask to achieve a dark atmosphere. If you are having trouble sleeping because of noise consider trying a white noise playlist, a fan or earplugs.

Everyone usually has their own ideal when it comes to bedroom temperature. You might even find yourself battling with a significant over the thermostat before bed. However, research shows the ideal bedroom temperature for adults is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will vary because everyone does have their own preference, but most doctors recommend between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Manage stress

Stress invokes our “fight or flight response.” This means our body is on high alert and ready for anything. It increases heart rate, dilates the pupils and increases breathing. While this is a great tool for when we’re in danger, it’s not ideal for bedtime. Managing stress is extremely important for getting restful sleep. Without stress, your body activates the parasympathetic response, which promotes relaxation and resting. If you’d like to find out more, check out this blog.

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5. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Being too full, too hungry or eating right before bed can disturb your sleep. Alexander Ford, a registered dietitian and osteopathic physician, explains when you should stop eating before bed. He says, “I would advise stopping your last meal around three to four hours before going to bed, so you can sleep through the night.” Going to bed after eating can cause indigestion and acid reflux that can keep you up or decrease sleep quality.

Additionally, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can negatively impact sleep. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine can keep you up long after it was consumed. According to the Cleveland Clinic, six hours after drinking caffeine, half of it is still in your body. While alcohol can make you sleepy, it can damage your sleep cycle and make for restless sleep.

Know When to Contact a Doctor

Everyone has a restless night every now and then. However, if you are constantly having trouble sleeping contact your doctor.

Contact us!

If you would like to learn more about about BeneFIT or physical therapy, give us a call today! New Jersey has direct access which means you can come see us without seeing your doctor! We can see you quicker than you could get in to see the doctor, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!