12 Keys to Wellness and Longevity - Sleep


Multiethnic group of sleepy people women men yawning looking bor

Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? It helps us recharge our batteries for the next day’s activities. But when it doesn’t go to plan we can behave like irrational toddlers! To help you have a solid night’s sleep consistently, here are some tips to consider:
Consistency is key

Regulate your internal clock with consistent sleep patterns. This means going to bed at the same time each night and waking at the same time each morning, including weekends if possible, as your body gets into it’s natural sleeping pattern.


Side sleeping is best, back sleeping is okay, but stomach sleeping should be avoided. When on your side, make sure one leg is on top of the other (with a cushion between your knees if necessary) to avoid twisting through your pelvis. Your pillow is important; it needs to be the right height so that your neck is in a neutral position and not angled in either direction up or down. Also make sure that your mattress is giving your body adequate support.

Avoid Bright and Blue Light

Avoiding bright light from devices at bedtime can aid in a restful night sleep

Artificial light – whether from the TV, computer, or smart phone/tablet, stimulates your nervous system and will trick your body into being more alert as if it’s daytime and therefore likely to interrupt your ability to sleep. To avoid this, iPhones have ‘night mode’ which dims the screen in the evening. You can also install an app on your computer called Flux, which helps to change the frequency of light emitted from your screen so it is less inhibitive to melatonin production. Best practice though is to avoid screens for the 2 hours before bedtime. This is especially important for children.

Exercise Daily

Regular exercise helps in several ways; it burns physical energy, creates positive endorphins and improves overall sense of wellbeing – all of which are conducive to good sleep. Exercising outdoors helps with regulation of our natural circadian rhythm, especially if it is in the early hours of the morning and evening. Exercise does have a stimulatory effect though so make sure to finish exercise at least 2-3 hours before you plan to sleep.

Avoid Heavy Metals and Caffeine at Night

Heavy meals can stress your digestive system and cause indigestion that can interfere with your sleep. Caffeine is obviously a stimulant that will impact your ability to sleep well too. Remember that black tea, green tea and chocolate can have nearly as much caffeine as coffee and are best to be avoided in the evening if you are having trouble sleeping.

Stress Management

Lying awake at night processing your day and the issues that arose is unproductive to those issues, and unproductive to your sleep. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can jot down what’s on your mind and put it aside until the morning.

Take Deep Breaths

Mindful meditation is an effective way of winding down before bedtime, however if meditation is not for you then a simpler version is some breathing exercises. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing mimics how you feel when you are relaxed – did you know that when you breathe in, your tummy should expand outwards? Try lying on your back and breathe deeply into your stomach 10 times. Push your belly out with your in-breath, and let it fall on the out-breath. Be sure that your chest and shoulders are not moving too much. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is naturally calming.

Get Adjusted

If you’re not already seeing a chiropractor, it may be worth getting checked for any interference to your nervous system. The nerves in the upper neck are particularly influential on hormonal regulation, which impacts sleep. If our bodies are stuck in a stress response or ‘flight or flight’ mode, sleep will be hard to come by. Getting adjusted helps to regulate this sympathetic nervous system response and help your body switch off and calm down, and improved sleep is often one of the first reported benefits from people under chiropractic care.

Natural Sleep Aids

If you’ve taken the advice above onboard and your sleeping quality still isn’t as you wish, consider trying some of these natural sleep aids: Magnesium is a natural relaxant that helps to decrease the stress-hormone cortisol, regulates melatonin, and helps your muscles relax. Omega-3-fatty acids have been linked with better sleep, so you could consider supplementing with fish oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts or dark leafy greens. Chamomile or a specific sleeping tea blend may also be of benefit.


Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.