Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

Most people are aware of the fact that getting proper sleep is vital for our health. There are a lot of good benefits to sleep such as giving us the energy we need for the next day, helping our bodies heal and recover, processing information that we have learned from the previous day, improving our moods, etc. Most people need somewhere between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted quality sleep per night. It is quite common that people have problems sleeping from time to time for whatever reason. Instead of jumping right for the quick fix such as with a medication or supplement, there are certain things you can do to improve your sleep environment that will increase the likelihood of getting a good night’s rest.

1 – Keep your bedroom as dark as possible – With any kind of light including the light from your alarm clock, the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland is altered which disrupts melatonin production.

2 – Keep electronic devices outside of your bedroom – These devices emit electromagnetic fields which can also hinder the production of melatonin from the pineal gland. Keep your alarm clock 3-4 feet away from you as well.

3 – Establish a sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. This will help you fall asleep and get up more easily because your body is more programmed to do so.

4 – Go to bed by 11 pm – Between 11 pm and 1 am is when the adrenals recharge the most and by going to bed by 11 pm, you will help rebuild the adrenal glands which will help you deal with stress and have more energy.

5 – Avoid exercising at night – Exercising at night can be too stimulating for your body.The cortisol, which is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands, declines towards the end of the day. Exercising at night can disrupt that rhythm.

6 – Avoid caffeine after 3 pm – Drinking coffee after 3 pm may affect your sleep even if you are going to bed much later. Caffeine can be metabolized at different rates for different people and can be too stimulating for your body if consumed too late.

7 – Avoid fluids a couple hours before bedtime – This will help you avoid getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

8 – Do something calming before bed – Light reading, taking a hot bath with Epsom salts and deep breathing are examples of helping you unwind in order to fall asleep more easily.

9 – Avoid napping during the day after 2-3 pm. If you take a nap after that time, it might be harder to fall asleep at a certain time. If you feel the need to consistently take a nap during the day, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep at night.

10 – Avoid stimulating activities before bed – Stop work-related activities at least an hour before you go to bed in order to avoid stimulating your body too much. These activities can cause elevations in noradrenaline and cortisol before going to bed which can affect your sleep.

Dr. Craig Pannone, ND Naturopathic Physician Dr. Craig Pannone graduated from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in life sciences and a minor in business management. Knowing from early on that he wanted to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine, he was then accepted into the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, ON, the largest accredited naturopathic institution in North America. He graduated from CCNM with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine in 2012.

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