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5 Tips For Better Sleep

Posted on August 23, 2016 at 11:55 AM

1. Get regular massages!

The Mayo Clinic has found that receiving massage reduces insomnia related stress. Additionally, a study done by the International Journal of Neuroscience on back pain demonstrated that subjects receiving massage therapy not only experienced long term pain relief, but better sleep. 

2. Reduce blue light exposure 90 minutes before bedtime.

You may have read that the blue light from our phones and tablets can be disruptive to sleep, especially when we check our phones before going to bed. There is software available to help with that (assuming that none of us are disciplined enough to turn off our devices 90 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.) However, research suggests that the blue light from our personal devices might not be as problematic as the LED lights in our homes. Warmer lightbulbs are available, and it might be worthwhile to invest in some for the bedroom and the living area where you wind down at night. This article from digitaltrends explains how blue light affects sleep and how to use the knowledge to your best advantage.

3. Sleep with your phone in another room. 

I know, I know, most of us use our phones as alarm clocks. You should stop, though. This 2008 study that was actually funded by major mobile phone carriers strongly suggests that exposure to mobile phone radation can disrupt sleep, affect mood, and even cause headaches. I know that's some old research, so if you know of more recent research that contradicts those findings, please post a link in the comments! 

Besides the physical effects off cell phone use, though, notification sounds can definitely be disruptive and guilt us into feeling as though we have to answer messages just because we can. If you're really having trouble sleeping, try investing in an inexpensive alarm clock and plugging your phone in somewhere else before bed.

4. Meditate!

If you have a meditation practice that works for you, please post it in the comments! I personally like these guided meditations from UC Berkley. My nurse practitioner recommended them last spring when I was having trouble sleeping. Of course, since you have to listen to them online, that may mean you're bringing your phone to bed. I personally have an old ipod that is not and has never been a phone. I use that to listen to these in bed, making sure I'm signed out of social media and email first.

5. Eat dinner early and don't snack before bed.

Research done at Harvard Medical School found that fasting for 12 to 16 hours before you want to wake up can help reset your sleep schedule, presumably because you're tricking your body into thinking it's time to get up and hunt for food. This is helpful if you do shift work and have to adjust your schedule or if you change time zones, but also if you've just fallen into a bad sleep pattern. 

I personally have not been disciplined enough to use that method, so if you do, please share your results in the comments.

Thanks for reading and sweet dreams!

Categories: Self Care