laying supine 

Tips To Help You Sleep Better At Night

We all need sleep. Some of us need more sleep than others. Children and growing teenagers tend to need more hours of sleep as their bodies grow and develop. As you age, you tend to sleep less partly because you may not be quite as active as you were in your youth. Other reasons for less sleep as you age include possible changes in your brain or medications you may be taking.

Effects Of Poor Sleep

Slower injury recovery

When your sleep is broken and interrupted, it can affect your entire day. You have less energy and are not as focused. If you are trying to recover from an injury, sleep problems can hinder that recovery.

A bath for your brain

Research has also linked sleep with helping your brain function by allowing your brain to wash or flush out toxins. If these toxins are allowed to build up, it may contribute to brain degeneration.

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How Sleep Affects Your Injury Recovery

Relaxed muscles: When you are asleep, your muscles are more relaxed. As you fall deeper into sleep, increased in blood flow allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your injured areas. This helps your muscles, skin and bones repair and heal.

Hormones: Certain hormones are released in your body while you sleep. These hormones include human growth hormones (HGH) and testosterone. Both of these hormones play important roles in the repair and strengthening of your muscles, tendons and ligaments. The longer you are able to sleep, the more your body is able to release these hormones.

Reasons You May Have Trouble Sleeping

There are many possible reasons you may be having trouble sleeping:

Chronic pain or injury

About 1 in 5 people will have trouble sleeping due to chronic pain. This can be from things such as arthritis, lower back pain, shoulder pain or headache.

Circadian rhythm

Anything that disrupts your body’s natural internal clock can have an affect on your sleep quality. These can include jet lag from travel or if you do shift work.

Insomnia

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. Some of the triggers for insomnia include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Jet lag
  • Medication
  • Stress

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that causes significant sleepiness throughout your day.

Pregnancy

In your first trimester you may have sleep problems because of having to go to the bathroom more than usual or because of morning sickness. Once you are in your third trimester, sleep can be affected because of the physical changes that have happened as your pregnancy has progressed.

Restless leg syndrome, RLS

With restless leg syndrome, the constant movement of your legs can make it difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be caused by:

  • Medications
  • Nerve disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin deficiency

Sleep apnea

This is when the upper part of your airway is partly blocked. This can lead to abnormal breathing patterns which can cause you to wake up.

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Choosing The Right Mattress

One of the most frequent questions asked about sleep is what kind of mattress is best. The short to this is: it depends. While there may be suggestions on the different mattress types, it really is a very personal choice – you really have to just try it to know if the mattress will be comfortable for you. Also, an expensive mattress may not necessarily be better than one that costs less.

There are some general guidelines you can consider when looking for the right mattress. Depending on your preferred sleep position:

Back

This is typically the position most often recommended to sleep in. If you like sleeping on your back, you may find a medium-firm mattress the most comfortable.

If you suffer from acid reflux, sleeping on your back or even slightly propping your head up may provide some relief. However, this is also the position that people snore the most in. It may also be uncomfortable on your back if you are pregnant.

Side

This is the most common sleep position. For side sleepers, you may find that a softer mattress will be more comfortable. As your shoulders and hips are generally wider than the rest of your body, a soft-medium mattress will allow your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress, keeping your spine in better alignment.

People who sleep on their sides tend to snore less and is also recommended if you are pregnant. However, if you have shoulder pain or heartburn, this position may not be the best

Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is usually not recommended except in some cases. However, if you must sleep on your stomach, then starting with a medium-firm to firm mattress may be a good step.

If your spouse complains of you snoring, sleeping your stomach may help the two of you find peace. However, it can sometimes put a strain on both your neck and lower back.

Tips On Finding The Best Pillow To Use

Just as choosing the right mattress can be a very personal decision, so can finding the best pillow. There are general tips you can start with in finding a pillow that works for you, but you will want to still try them out:

Back

If you like to sleep on your back, a small pillow may be helpful. You can also try using one that supports the natural curve of your neck, such as a foam or orthopedic pillow.

Side

Sleeping on your side usually calls for a more supportive and thicker pillow. This is to provide enough support for your head and neck as you lay on your shoulders. If you end up with a smaller or thinner pillow, this may not be enough support for your neck and you end up with your head flopped over for extended periods.

Stomach

If you must sleep on your stomach, try going without a pillow. This position already can strain your neck, so best is to avoid extending your neck and back even further with a pillow.

Tips If You Have Trouble Falling Asleep

To help you fall asleep faster here are some tips you can try:

  1. Turn off your electronic devices a couple hours before bedtime
  2. Store your electronics away from your head while sleeping
  3. Have a pen and paper near your bed. This way, if any last moment thoughts or ideas pop into your head, you can write them down and not worry about having to remember them in the morning
  4. Stop eating a couple hours before sleeping
  5. Limit your physical activity to calm, slow movements in the evening, keeping your heart rate slow and steady
  6. Limit your caffeine and nicotine intake
  7. Keep your room temperature on the cooler side

See Your North Burnaby Heights Physiotherapist Or Chiropractor

If you find that you are not getting a full, restful night of sleep, talk to your physiotherapist or chiropractor at Cedar. Your physio or chiro can give you tips on finding a good mattress or pillow, other supports you can use and help you with any injuries that may be making it more difficult for you to sleep well.

Phone 604-738-1168

Schedule Your Visit

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I fix my sleeping problems?

A: Try to have a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine or smoking and keep your bed area calm and peaceful

Q: What are some trouble sleeping causes?

A: Some things that may trigger insomnia or trouble falling asleep include jet lag, some medications, poor sleep habits, stress, eating too late at night and chronic pain

Q: How much sleep should I be getting?

A: For the average adult, usually between 7-9 hours of sleep each night is a healthy target