8 Tips for Better Sleep
Getting enough sleep at night can help you better deal with chronic pain throughout the day. But it’s not always easy to get a full seven hours of sleep, especially if you’re in pain. If you’re struggling to sleep well at night, consider these tips that can help you get better sleep.
- Go screen free at night. The blue light from screens on mobile devices, laptops, and TVs can be disruptive to sleep, sending a signal to your brain that it’s daytime even when you should be going to bed. Stop screen time at least one hour before bed. Avoid taking your mobile device to bed and don’t fall asleep watching TV. Never work in bed, as you want your brain to only associate your bed with sleep and sex.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Consistency in your sleep schedule can make it easier for you to rest at night. If you go to bed and wake up about the same time each night and day, your body will become accustomed to the schedule. You’ll find it easier to get to sleep at night the more consistent you are.
- Don’t let caffeine interrupt sleep. Although most people can handle coffee in the morning, drinking caffeine in the afternoon, evening or especially late at night can make you feel to alert to get to sleep. It’s best to avoid coffee after 3 p.m., or even noon if you’re sensitive. Keep an eye out for caffeine in other consumables, such as pain relievers and chocolate.
- Visit a chiropractor. Research shows promise in using chiropractic adjustments to improve insomnia symptoms. Getting adjusted can help improve breathing, circulation, and minimize stress, making it easier to relax and sleep at night.
- Don’t let naps hinder nighttime sleep. If you’re short on sleep at night, naps can help you feel more alert during the day. But they can also make it more difficult for you to fall asleep if you’re rested from your nap. Avoid napping after 3 p.m. and don’t nap for more than 30 minutes at a time. Better yet, find an alternative activity that can make you feel alert, such as getting physical activity.
- Stay active and get light exposure. Get exercise and physical activity throughout the day. Make sure you’re exposed to a bright light first thing in the morning, so your brain gets the signal that it’s daytime and time to be alert. However, exercise and light should be avoided in the evening and late at night, as they can make you feel too alert to get to sleep on time.
- Focus on relaxation. As you go through your bedtime routine at night, make sure you include relaxing activities that can help you wind down. For example, meditation, yoga, or a hot bath can relieve the stress of the day and prepare you for a restful night.
- Sleep on the right mattress. Choosing the right bed is critical for good rest; a mattress that’s well suited to your needs will offer comfort, support, and make it easy to drift off at night. Read mattress reviews and research brands so you can choose one that provides the best fit for your needs. You can improve spinal alignment with pillows as well. For example, if you sleep on your side, place a pillow in between your knees. Or if you’re a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees.
Contributed by Ellie Porter
Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org