GOOD SLEEP IS THE KEY TO A GOOD HEALTH
Eating well, exercising and sleeping well are the key elements that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Like good nutrition and exercise, sleep is essential to your health.
IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP
How can I improve my sleep?
By creating a relaxing sleep environment.
Good sleep habits and a restful sleep environment play an important role in the quality of your sleep. You can sleep better if you set up a comfortable place to sleep.
Noise, light, an uncomfortable or worn out mattress set, a bedroom that is too warm or too cold are all factors that can disturb your night’s sleep.
Important factors of a good sleep environment:
- The mattress and box spring : Make sure your mattress and box spring meets your needs for support and adequate comfort. If you sleep with a partner, your mattress should be large enough to allow both people to move with ease during the night.
- The light : Light is one of the most influential clues to your body. Sunlight can stimulate your brain to wake up long before your alarm clock rings. A dark bedroom is a most supportive way to sleep, day or night.
QUALITY SLEEP : IT’S ESSENTIAL!
A third of your life will be spent in bed. Your posture, the type of mattress you sleep on and the quality of your sleep will all affect your health and your perception of life.
Eating well, exercising and sleeping well are the key elements that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the value of a good sleep. Like good nutrition and exercise, sleep is essential in order to be at its best.
Why is sleep so important?
Because when you sleep, your body goes to work :
Your mind and body do not stop while you sleep. Sleep allows the brain to memorize the learnings of the day while improving the ability to learn repetitive tasks, such as riding a bicycle and working with a computer. During sleep, the body does maintenance work, it replaces old cells with new ones and restores energy to organs and muscles. The “work” that sleep does during the night is essential so that you can function optimally during the day. Sleeping well with a good combination of light sleep and deep sleep provides more restorative benefits than poor sleep.
High costs are associated with lack of sleep:
A LANDMARK study conducted by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that the costs of sleep deprivation amount to a few billion dollars a year, including accidents and lost productivity. For these millions of individuals, the effects on quality of life remain incalculable.
Sleep research shows that inadequate sleep can cause:
- Increased stress
- Lack of motivation
- Slower reflexes
- Increased inattention
In some cases, severe sleep deprivation is a sign of disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, limb numbness, or restless legs syndrome. If you think you have a serious or chronic sleep problem, you should consult a doctor or sleep specialist.
Sleep in the position that is most comfortable and most appropriate for your own relaxation. Do not adopt a position that could cause you pain, aggravate or perpetuate lower back problems.
All in all, a good mattress provides a perfect alignment to your body, ensures excellent rest and contributes to a regenerative process during your sleep. Having a quality mattress in your bedroom keeps your back healthy and assures you good posture during the day.
Sleeping on your back is the most relaxing and also the most recommended position for spinal alignment. If you sleep on your back, avoid pillows too thick; you will avoid creating tension in the cervical region.
Over the years, this pressure on your neck could affect the natural curve of your upper back and neck. This could cause you other diseases or discomfort related to the spine.
People with lower back pain may prefer to sleep on their back with a pillow under their knees or lower back.
Before any choice of position, consult your chiropractor. He is more able to make recommendations related to this position, especially if you have lower back pain or other vertical problems.
An alternative position is to sleep on your side with your knees bent. When you sleep this way, the key is to use the right thickness of pillow to raise your head to the same level as your spine. Sleeping on the side can also help reduce snoring. This position is normally suggested to people with lumbar problems and pregnant women. It particularly promotes relaxation.
For added comfort, pregnant women can place a pillow between their knees when they sleep in this position.
Normally, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach. When you adopt this position, your face should be turned to the extreme right or the extreme left to breathe. This way of sleeping can cause a tension at the cervical level. This tension can itself cause stretching and / or narrowing of the muscles and ligaments on one side or the other of the spine.
Also, sleeping on your stomach can lead to a displacement of the rib cage, because of the weight of your body on your chest. This can develop into lumbar tension extending in some cases to the hips, legs and feet. Symptoms may include stiff neck and shoulders, and morning headaches.
Causes of interrupted sleep
Sleeping is not a luxury, but a necessity. In fact, sleep determines the quality of our life in the waking state. According to sleeping experts, 70% of the population is moderately or severely affected by impaired sleep. To deliver optimal work performance, most adults need a minimum of eight hours of continuous sleep during the night to repair and regenerate the body and restore the mind.
The biggest obstacle to achieving quality sleep is interrupted sleep. 40% of the population has difficulty sleeping at least a few nights a week. Here are the five major causes of fragmented sleep:
- A bad sleep environment
- Psychological stress
- Physical stress
- Inappropriate diet and lack of exercise
- Stirring and turning frequently during sleep
Here’s what you can do to help you overcome these sources of disruption. You will be able to fully enjoy uninterrupted and quality sleep.
A bad sleep environment
The bedroom is your ultimate refuge. To have a completely restful sleep, you must take the necessary measures by surrounding yourself with a suitable night environment.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet. Distracting sounds such as a flowing sink, a noisy heater, police sirens could disrupt your sleep. The sound should be reduced as much as possible or at least masked by the use of fans, humidifiers or air conditioners. If your budget is more limited, try to tune your fm radio to a “between two stations” position. The sound that will be emitted will help you fall asleep. If you like the sound of nature, you can get a device that emits revitalizing sounds; these will make sure to eliminate noise from outside.
In addition, too much light in the bedroom can lead to insomnia or repeated awakenings. The use of dark materials to block the light from windows or strips on the edges of the entrance doors can make your bedroom dark enough. If you are particularly sensitive to light, try an eye mask. This will block light from the window and door slots.
The ideal temperature for sleeping is around 65 to 67˚F. If cold or hot temperature variants occur, it may reduce your sleep time. It is important to note that your body temperature drops slightly when you sleep. It is then necessary to have enough blankets to keep you warm during the night. But be careful not to be too hot. Recall that neither extreme is advisable.
- A relative humidity suitable for the bedroom is between 60 and 70˚F.
- Conceal the illuminated clocks out of sight to avoid frequent viewing of the dial at night. This can create not only insomnia, but anxiety.
- Ban your TV, computer games and internet from your bedroom. Get used to using the bedroom only for sleeping and for intimate moments.
The sleep you know at night is strongly influenced by what happens to you during the day. The most common cause of insomnia is stress. Try this exercise before going to bed:
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes in a contracted manner, then relaxed. After that, relax all your muscles starting with your toes and moving towards your head. Stay in this state of calm. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
- Breathe easily with your nose. When you breathe out, silently murmur a short word, like “hum.” Continue for ten to twelve minutes.
- When you’re done, stay silent with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Then open your eyes for a few minutes before getting up. Perform this exercise one to two times daily.
- Avoid playing sports or eating within two hours of falling asleep. Physical activity as well as food digestion can interfere with relaxation. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, this moment will help you ease your mind.
- You could also get acquainted with traditional yoga or meditation to practice during the day.
- Another step that can help you get ready for a good night’s sleep is to make a list of your day’s concerns. By putting your ideas on paper, they will disappear from your mind at night and then you will be more likely to consider them in the morning.
- In this way you will be able to sleep peacefully.
80% of the adult population will eventually consult a doctor for back pain. Back pain can be caused by poor support of the spine during sleep. Sleeping with a properly aligned spine is critical to reducing stress and promoting regenerative sleep.
Inappropriate diet and lack of exercise
- Physical exercise increases the strength of the heart and lungs while reducing anxiety and insomnia. In addition, exercise raises the level of endorphins, which decreases pain, relaxes muscles, minimizes appetite and produces a general sense of well-being. As a result of exercising, sleep becomes deeper, more effective and more restful.
- The best time to engage in physical activity is late afternoon or noon. The exercise done in the morning has little effect on the quality of your nighttime sleep. If the evening is the only time you can train, go slowly to avoid disturbing your sleep at night.
- Consume fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and bread, rice, pasta, fish and poultry. Limit fat absorption.
- During the day, you should eat a healthy breakfast, a hearty lunch and a light dinner.
- Eating protein at dinner, such as fish, chicken or some vegetables, will prevent being hungry at night.
- If you have a lot of appetite at bedtime, a small snack high in carbohydrates and low in protein will satisfy your stomach and help you sleep.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages after two o’clock in the afternoon, tobacco, and all forms of alcohol within three hours of sleep. This will allow you to have a continuous sleep during the night.
- In addition, taking a glass of hot milk before going to bed will provide a clue to your body that it’s time to sleep. The heated milk contains tryptophan, which causes sleep.
Stirring and turning frequently during sleep
On average, a person changes position from 40 to 60 times a night; this can lead the partner to move too. Make sure to sleep on a mattress designed to minimize movement from a partner. Choose it wide enough so that it provides support and optimal comfort for two people, in case you sleep with a partner.
In short, ten tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Maintain regular hours. Keep your biological clock at a steady pace by going to bed and always waking up at the same time, both on weekdays and on weekends.
- Develop a sleep ritual. Trying to do the same things each night just before going to sleep will give your body the message to calm down and prepare for sleep.
- Sleep on a comfy mattress-box spring set with excellent support. It is difficult to get a deep and restful sleep if you have a set of mattress-box spring too small, too soft, too firm or just too old.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help relieve tension (stress) of the day.
- Decrease stimulants. The consumption of stimulating foods or beverages, such as caffeine during the evening, hampers the onset of sleep and prevents deep sleep.
- No smoking. Smokers take longer to fall asleep. They wake up more frequently and get restless and fragmented sleep.
- Drink alcohol in a moderate way. Drinking alcohol before going to sleep can interrupt and fragment your sleep.
- Relax early in the evening. Try to resolve your worries and distractions several hours before going to bed.
- Create a soothing environment. Sleep in a cool, quiet, dark bedroom on a comfortable mattress-box spring set with good support.
- Put your sleep first. Say “YES” to sleep even if you would be tempted to stay up a little later, you’ll be grateful for it in the morning.