The Wellness Revolution
Trouble Sleeping? Here’s How You Can Improve Your Sleep Routine To Get a Better Night’s Rest
In my clinical practice I see all kinds of patients with all different concerns, however, it is a rarity that I see someone who doesn’t or hasn’t had an issue with their sleep. Sleep concerns can be related to stress, a health condition, or poor sleep habits. If you consistently go to bed after midnight, lay in bed and watch the clock for hours, or wake up every hour, then you’ll want to read on.
When helping patients with their sleep, I often make the following suggestions:
- Get into a routine and keep it the same. Even if you feel tired during the day, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day (even on the weekends). This consistency helps improve sleep quantity and quality.
- Only sleep when sleepy. If you go to bed and after 20 minutes still haven’t fallen asleep, get up and try again later when feeling tired. If you do get up avoid doing anything stimulating (don’t watch TV or look at your phone), instead sit on the couch with the lights turned off or dimmed, or read something boring until you feel tired.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, & alcohol at least 4-6 hours before sleep.
- Only use your bed for sleeping and intimacy, this way you associate your bed with only sleeping. Avoid watching TV, working on your laptop, or doing other activities while in bed.
- Avoid napping during the day, so that you are tired at bedtime. However, if you must nap, make sure you do so before 3pm and for less than an hour.
- Establish a bedtime ritual, such as doing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed. Or have a hot bath 1-2 hours before sleep, the heat from the bath causes your body temperature to rise and then as your body temperature returns to normal it causes you to feel sleepy.
- Don’t watch the clock, as it tends to reinforce negative thoughts such as “It’s so late, I’m never going to fall asleep”
- Exercise regularly, but avoid strenuous exercises 4 hours before you intend to sleep. Instead start your day off with a morning workout/walk.
- Eat a balanced diet, and if you must snack before bed snack on tryptophan containing foods (these enhance sleepiness – think turkey dinner = sleepy)
- Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and clean. A cool room with warm blankets is most conducive for sleep. Either black out blinds/curtains or a sleep mask and ear plugs can help create the right environment for sleep.
Once you’ve established these foundations, your sleep is likely to improve. However, if you’ve consistently tried all of the above and are still struggling, then you may benefit from seeking professional help to figure out the underlying reasons you are having difficulty with sleep.
If you or someone you know is struggling with sleep and you’d like to explore how a naturopath could help you, feel free to book in for a FREE 15 minute visit.
Yours in health,
Dr. Kate ND
About the Author
Dr. Kate Klein is a licensed naturopathic doctor and clinic director at Your Health Collective, an integrative wellness clinic located in the heart of Ajax. Dr. Klein and her team offer services including, naturopathic medicine, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, osteopathy, and psychotherapy to patients of all ages. Practitioners at Your Health Collective provide a collaborative approach to patient care through a variety of natural treatments and solutions for health concerns ranging from disordered sleep, allergies, fertility, headaches, digestive concerns, and much more. We believe that health is more than just the absence of disease; health is when we function at our best through proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. For more information about Dr. Klein, naturopathic medicine, or our clinic please visit: www.yourhealthcollective.ca