Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, period.
Yet why is it so many people around the world only get less than 6 hours sleep per night on a regular basis? A study in America revealed that 40% of people get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Many get less than 5 hours of quality sleep every night which is just incredible.
There are a number of reasons which may attribute this insane percentage, including but not limited to cellular devices, work stress and the speed at which people are expected to live their lives in this modern world.
But this cannot go on like this. People cannot sustain such little sleep and expect to live long, happy, healthy lives. Many diseases are attributed to lack of sleep, including:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
Now that is a list which is ever growing in many western countries. Of course the United states and the UK are among the leaders in this department, which is putting a huge strain on health services in their respective countries.
But don’t despair! There is hope on the horizon, in fact it’s relatively simple to remedy the lack of sleep problem, but you have to be willing to make some changes. Here are some key changes that you can make in your lifestyle to get ensure you live as healthy a life as possible and start pushing up some serious Z’s.
1. Power Down
It’s bed time and it’s time to power down.. I’m talking about your phones people!
In fact it isn’t even just your phones that you need to switch off when you go to bed, tablets and laptops are a “must shutdown” and here’s why. Your body observes strict sleep triggers, so when the evening comes and the dark covers the world, your body naturally begins to relax and get ready for a good nights sleep.
If you are spending a lot of time on your phone or your laptop before bed time, you are disrupting your bodies natural cycle. When you finally retire to the bedroom and leave your phone or anything that gives off light, it with disrupt your body’s ability to get a good nights sleep.
2. Try A Pillow Between Your Legs For Back Pain
75-85% of Americans suffers with back pain in their lifetime, I’m pretty sure that percentage isn’t much different in the UK either, especially with the number of people we treat at our rehab clinic.
If you are one of that percentage, then there is a good chance that you will not be getting the quality sleep that your body craves. One of the best things you can do in this situation is stick a cushion or pillow between your legs and raise them closer to your chest. Sleeping on your side in this way may well help you get a much better nights rest as it will take a large amount of pressure off of your lumbar spine. In any case it is definitely worth a try, you may thank me later!
3. Put Your Neck In A “Neutral” Position
Observing a “neutral” position is often over stated and much less explained properly. This best way I can explain this is to make sure you are looking straight forward and your head is in line with the rest of your body. Ensuring you go to sleep in this position will give you the best chance of a good nights sleep, without the unpleasant feeling of waking up with a stiff neck. If you do wake up with this issue, you can pretty safely blame your pillow. Making sure it supports your head properly and isn’t too thin or thick is key here.
4. Set Your Body Clock
As I mentioned earlier, your body has its own natural triggers, but not only this, it is a creature of habit too.
Making sure you set your body clock correctly is another key towards ensuring a great nights sleep, but how exactly do you do this? Again its a simple fix, however it is most certainly not easy. All you need to do is make sure you go to bed and wake up the same time every day and yes, I do mean EVERY DAY.
You may argue, “I’ve got so much to do!”, “I’ve got kids, I just can’t do that”.
Yes there are a myriad of excuses for not going to bed at the same time. But as there are many excuses, there are also many solutions to these problems which are beyond the scope of this post. But what I will say is this, you are in control of your life. You have the power to decide how you raise your kids to fit around your lifestyle, you have the power to get more things done during the day to keep the boss happy. You can set your sleep and wake times if you just get a grip on your day. It isn’t easy, but since when is anything worthwhile easy?
5. Choose Your Exercise Wisely
One of the worst things you can do is go for a run or hit the iron right before bed. Even the HIIT videos we suggest for people to turbo charge their fitness are not right before your body winds down for sleep. However there are other things which will make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Meditative yoga and tai chi are two great options before you go to bed, as they both help your body shut down and clear your mind from the stresses of the day. There are countless videos on You tube which can help you with this, I may even create a few for you to use on this site at a later date so keep an eye out!
So there are 5 ways you can get a much better nights sleep which don’t exactly require a lot of effort on your behalf. As always give them a try and leave a comment. There are so many other ideas which I will share in a later post, but if you have any of your own ideas again, just leave them in the comments. Don’t forget to hit those social media buttons below too 🙂