Five key principles for healthy sleep – a Chiropractor’s guide 

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our health and well-being. Sleep gives our bodies and brains time to repair and carry out crucial functions. Indeed, recent research suggests that sleep plays a critical housekeeping role in the brain, removing toxins that build up while we’re awake. Conversely, a chronic lack of sleep can increase our risk for several negative health outcomes including diabetes, hypertension, and a lowered immune response. 

But if you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I know all this, but I can’t sleep’ – well, read on…  

Top Chiropractic sleep hygiene tips for a good night’s sleep 

The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep to properly experience the four to six sleep cycles required to be ‘well rested.’  

Getting to sleep, and how well we sleep when we do get there, is influenced by numerous factors, so addressing various elements of your sleep routine and sleeping environment may result in the best outcomes. Great ‘sleep hygiene’ involves healthy habits and behaviours alongside positive environmental factors. 

Make your bedroom – and your bed – sleep-friendly

A room that is ready for healthy sleep is cool (around 18°C is recommended), dark, well-ventilated, and quiet. If you face issues with noise such as traffic or loud neighbours, a soothing repetitive sound can help, whether it comes from a fan, a white noise machine or a special sleep recording.  

Once you’ve got your environment sorted, make sure your bed is tip-top too. Your mattress should be both supportive and comfortable, and your pillow should be the correct height and density to ensure the neutral alignment of your spine, whether you are a side or back sleeper. 

Establish (and maintain!) a bedtime routine 

Building healthy sleep habits will assist with better sleep now and into the future. Performing the same sleep routine each night teaches your brain that you’ll be sleeping soon, building consistency for positive sleep associations. A good routine may include putting away electronics, cleaning your teeth and gently washing your face, listening to some calming music, and doing some simple evening stretches before climbing under the covers. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day – yes, on weekends too! Going to bed and waking up at consistent times helps synchronise the body’s circadian rhythm, enhancing the quality of your sleep. 

Watch what (and when) you eat and drink 

The three things to remember here are: hydration throughout the day, avoid stimulants after lunch, and no big meals right before bed. Water helps regulate sleep cycles, and dehydration can lead to poor quality of sleep, so keep up your fluid intake. Stimulants such as caffeine can interfere with falling asleep and the subsequent quality of your sleep, so try to avoid caffeinated beverages after lunchtime. Meanwhile, having a heavy meal right before bed can cause digestive issues and interrupted rest.  

Get active (during the day) 

Regular exercise is an important ingredient for great sleep. Getting active and moving releases endorphins, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes relaxation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days, but try to avoid vigorous exercise right before bedtime, as this may elevate the heart rate and make it harder to nod off.  

Contact a Northcote Chiropractor for better sleep outcomes 

Many people don’t realise it, but sleeping habits can be disrupted or even directly impacted by issues with your back and neck – particularly if you’re experiencing pain as a result. Chiropractic care can improve the quality of your sleep by alleviating pain, improving posture, reducing stress, increasing circulation, and regulating the nervous system.  

If you would like to discover the difference Chiropractic can make to your sleep, make an appointment with Northcote Health and Wellness today. Bookings can be made via our simple online booking system or give us a call (03) 8899 6370 if you have any questions. 

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