How to improve your sleep

Sleep is essential for our physical, mental and overall health. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and an increased risk of workplace and exercise-related injuries.

There are many things we can do to improve our sleep quality, in this article our Geelong chiropractors will highlight some of the advice we often give our clients wanting to improve their sleep.

Read our more extensive sleep article here, where we cover my strategies to optimise your sleep quality.

Daily sunlight exposure

Sunlight helps to regulate our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. When we get enough sunlight during the day, it helps us to feel more alert and awake, while preparing our body to wind down in the evening. Try to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure each day, especially in the morning.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day

Caffeine and alcohol can both disrupt sleep, in particular the slow wave sleep phases of deep and REM sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, but can also reduce our time spent in these restorative phases of sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but it can also disrupt our slow wave sleep and reduce the overall quality of our sleep. If you’d like to optimise your sleep quality, it’s best to avoid caffeine and alcohol approximately 10 hours prior to sleep.

Regular exercise

Exercise can help to improve sleep quality and help facilitate our sleep-wake cycle. Important to note that exercising too close to sleep can have a negative affect on sleep quality. Exercising earlier in the day is preferential or at least 4-6 hours prior to sleep.

References

  1. Pei-Yu Yang, Ka-Hou Ho, Hsi-Chung Chen, Meng-Yueh Chien,
    Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review, Journal of Physiotherapy, Volume 58, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 157-163, ISSN 1836-9553, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1836-9553(12)70106-6.
  2. Daniel Freeman, Bryony Sheaves, Guy M Goodwin, Ly-Mee Yu, Alecia Nickless, Paul J Harrison, Richard Emsley, Annemarie I Luik, Russell G Foster, Vanashree Wadekar, Christopher Hinds, Andrew Gumley, Ray Jones, Stafford Lightman, Steve Jones, Richard Bentall, Peter Kinderman, Georgina Rowse, Traolach Brugha, Mark Blagrove, Alice M Gregory, Leanne Fleming, Elaine Walklet, Cris Glazebrook, E Bethan Davies, Chris Hollis, Gillian Haddock, Bev John, Mark Coulson, David Fowler, Katherine Pugh, John Cape, Peter Moseley, Gary Brown, Claire Hughes, Marc Obonsawin, Sian Coker, Edward Watkins, Matthias Schwannauer, Kenneth MacMahon, A Niroshan Siriwardena, Colin A Espie, The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis, The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 4, Issue 10, 2017, Pages 749-758, ISSN 2215-0366, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30328-0.
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Empowered Health Team