When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting a good night of sleep is arguably the most important factor to incorporate into your daily routine. Your biological systems are hard at work while you sleep; your brain processes new information, while your body goes into “repair and restore” mode to benefit your cells, energy levels, hormones, and more.
At Urban Massage, we always encourage our clients to get plenty of sleep to give the body enough time to rejuvenate so you can wake up ready to tackle the next day ahead. We also see a lot of clients who have sleep problems related to stress, anxiety, pain, or restlessness. While massage therapy, manual osteopathy, and other modalities can help, there are also a few at-home strategies for better sleep that we like to tell clients about.
To help you get your nighttime routine in check, here are nine science-backed tips to help you sleep better and feel rested:
Limit Screen Time Before Bed for a Better Sleep
Studies show that looking at screens in the evening can have many negative effects on your ability to fall asleep (and stay asleep), from disrupting your circadian rhythm (the body’s natural process for falling asleep and waking up) to increasing your heart rate and over-stimulating your brain, which ultimately results in shorter sleep.
Try turning your phone off or putting it in another room an hour or so before bedtime to give your brain time to wind down and naturally prepare for sleeping. Not only will this practice help you fall asleep faster, but it will also improve the quality of your sleep.
Move Your Body to Tire Yourself Out
Getting enough exercise plays a huge role in your ability to sleep soundly. Studies done at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep have proven that moving your body throughout the day can improve how long you sleep, as well as the quality of your sleep, so you wake up feeling rested the next day.
When you should exercise is up to you! Listen to your body and experiment with working out at different times of the day to find out what works best for your schedule and sleep cycle. Once you find that sweet spot, you will likely find a more stable sleep pattern follows.
Invest in the Right Mattress and Pillow
If you haven’t bought yourself a new mattress in a while, now is the time to invest in the best sleep possible! For some people, whether their mattress is firm or soft enough can make or break their sleeping habits.
Some modern mattresses can be adjusted electronically to suit your needs, even while sleeping next to someone else who may have a different preference. If you’re struggling to feel rested, we recommend visiting your local mattress store.
On the other hand, sometimes simply swapping out your pillow can make a world of difference for your sleep patterns. At Urban Massage & Wellness, we often see clients that suffer from chronic stiffness in the neck and shoulders, which could mean they are sleeping on worn-out pillows or an old mattress.
Regulate Your Room Temperature at Night
Are you more comfortable in warmth? Or do you keep your thermostat at a cool 18 degrees year-round? To sleep better, sometimes it requires adjusting your thermostat at night (or buying a fan to turn on at bedtime).
You might find that making your bedroom warmer or cooler makes it easier to fall asleep quickly and comfortably, but sometimes it could also mean finding the right sleepwear, as different fabrics can affect comfort and body temperature as well.
Practice Meditating to Wind Down
Similar to putting your phone away, meditating before bed can help quiet the mind and prepare your nervous system for rest. Whether you take two minutes or twenty minutes to settle in, try meditating or practicing deep breathing exercises to calm down your brain and body in preparation for a full night’s sleep.
Be Mindful About Bedroom Lighting for Better Rest
While blue light from your smartphone is generally the biggest sleep disruptor, too much exposure to light in general can over-stimulate your brain and keep you up at night. If you don’t have them already, we recommend investing in black-out blinds to cover the windows so you can wake up feeling rested.
Sometimes even your alarm clock can emit enough light to distract your brain from resting properly, so if black-out blinds aren’t enough, try finding a comfortable sleep mask to wear over your eyes at bedtime.
Eat the Right Bedtime Snack
Did you know that certain foods contain chemicals that promote better sleep? For example, almonds are high in melatonin, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Other sleep-enhancing chemicals to watch for in foods are magnesium, tryptophan, antioxidants, serotonin, vitamin D and omega-3.
Some snack options to consider if you need to sleep better include:
- Roasted nuts
- Fatty fish
- Floral or fruit-based tea
- Bananas and other fruits
Consult with a Physician to Address Sleep Concerns
If you have tried changing your routine to naturally improve your sleeping habits and nothing is working, you may be suffering from a more serious sleep disorder. If you think you might be experiencing insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, or other sleep-disrupting conditions, we encourage you to see your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist. You may need additional support to help you sleep better, including a sleep apnea machine, prescription medications or a specialized snoring aid.
Book a Massage in St. Albert at Urban Massage
Regular massage therapy helps your body relax, heal, and recharge, preparing your nervous system for the best sleep possible. At Urban Massage, we offer a variety of specialized massages in St. Albert to suit your needs, including relaxation, therapeutic, deep tissue, sports-specific, prenatal, pediatric, cupping, hot stone massage, and more!
Our Registered Massage Therapists are trained to address your individual wellness needs. Book a massage at Urban Massage and Wellness Clinic today and start your journey toward a healthier, restful sleep cycle!