8 Ways to Make Every Horizontal Hour Count!
We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping. In other words, if you live for ninety years, you will sleep for 30 years of your life! Given this, figuring out how to get the most from your sleep is pretty important!
There is a lot of controversy over how much sleep we need. If you were to research this question, you would probably conclude that the right amount of sleep depends on the person. Some people need eight to nine hours, while others do just fine on five to six hours. Personally, five to six hours of sleep is perfect for me! I feel tired the next day if I sleep more than that. My wife, however, needs more sleep than I do. She is also one of those people who is asleep 5 minutes after her head hits the pillow. I admit; I’m jealous. For me, it takes a little longer. What are the benefits of a restful sleep and how do we sleep better?
The Benefits of A Good Quality Sleep:
Sleep helps to repairs one’s body. When you go to sleep you should reach stage 4 of sleep or “REM sleep.” This stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is in this phase of sleep that your muscles totally relax. “Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping that help strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy.” (1)
Sleep helps to keep your heart healthy by reducing stress and inflammation.
Sleep helps to improve memory. When people wake up not rested in the morning, some may experience a type of “brain fog.” [Click to Tweet] This affects memory. Look at this as a type of inflammation in the brain.
Sleep helps to control body weight. “Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases.” (1)
Good quality sleep decreases your chance of diabetes.
Good quality sleep decreases mood disorders. Lack of sleep can lead to depression and or anxiety.
8 Ways to Fall Asleep Quicker and Make Every Minute Count!
1. Make sure you have a mattress that’s right for you. There is no set rule on whether firm or soft is better. You really need to try a mattress out. Just laying on it in the store for a minute or two really does not give you the information you need. To solve this problem, make sure the store has a 30-day return policy. After sleeping on whatever mattress you pick, you will know if it is “right” for you and if it’s not – you can return it! If the store does not have a return policy, find another store. Don’t sway on this! A quality mattress is an investment into your health and well-being.
2. Have a pillow that is good for you. Sleeping with two or three pillows under your head is wrong. You want a comfortable pillow that keeps your neck in the anatomically-correct c-shape. [Click to Tweet] Too many pillows under your head can keep your neck in an odd shape and can affect how you breathe when you sleep.
3. Keep the temperature in your room between 65 to 60 degrees. A cooler room will help you sleep better and deeper.
4. Keep the room darker. A glowing cell phone, clock radio, or TV will affect the quality of your sleep.
5. Establish and follow a normal sleep routine. This means going to bed around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning.
6. Don’t stare at a clock in your room. Too many people get frustrated watching a clock. “Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep.” (2)
7. Run a fan in your room. White noise is soothing, helping one to get to sleep and stay sleep throughout the night. My wife and I have a fan running constantly. We even take a small fan with us when we are staying at a hotel.
8. Try this breathing technique: breathe in through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 7 and breathe out through your mouth to the count of 8. Doing this 4 o 5 times helps many people fall asleep faster. [Click to Tweet]
Don’t freak out on some nights you can’t get to sleep. Everyone has those evenings that they can’t sleep. While having these nights too often is not good for your health, everyone has them now and then. Instead of getting frustrated about not being able to sleep, get out of bed and do something else.
If you have constant trouble getting to sleep, or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, consult a doctor. Proper testing can determine the reason for this. Remember though that sleep aids are not the answer. Find a doctor that will help you solve the problem instead of simply inducing sleep chemically. Look for a future post about the connection between drugs, sleeping aids and Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Do you have any tips you would like to share?
Sleep well my friends,
Dr. David Starkey D.C.
June 17, 2015
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians