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How to Upgrade Your Nightly Routine for Better Sleep and Health

woman sleeping with headphones on to block out distractions and get better sleep

A good night's sleep is the foundation of a healthy life. When you're well-rested, you have more energy, focus better, and can manage stress more effectively. But for many of us, achieving quality sleep can be a challenge. Here at OWL Chiropractic, we believe that chiropractic care can be a valuable part of a healthy sleep routine. However, there are also many other decisions you make throughout the day that can impact your ability to sleep at night. Here are some tips to help you upgrade your nightly routine for better sleep and health.

Consistency is Key.

Setting a consistent waking and bedtime will help your body adapt. Most resources say you should sleep 7-9 hours each night, so start by picking a waking and bedtime that fits your schedule and meets those requirements. Even if your body “won’t sleep” during those times, make sure you are in bed as if you were going to sleep and do a calming activity like reading, listening to an audiobook, or meditating. Over time your body will start to wind down easier at those times.

get out in the morning to absorb vitamin d which helps with your body's ability to make melatonin

Control Your Light Exposure To Get More Sleep. 

The light you absorb through your eyes and skin from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep will impact your body’s natural melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in your ability to sleep. To help maintain a good melatonin cycle, make sure you get outside in the early morning hours to expose yourself to the natural light and avoid scrolling on your phone until after that.

Devices like your phone, TV, iPad, and laptop contain an unnatural concentration of blue light that will disrupt your melatonin cycle, especially during the early and late hours of the day. Fluorescent and LED lighting should also be avoided in the early and late hours of the day, instead opt for safely used candles or other ambient light such as salt lamps. Hot Tip: blue light-blocking glasses are becoming more popular and can help reduce the impact of using devices throughout the day.  

The Environment In Which You Sleep

Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cold will also help upgrade your sleep. The cold will help stimulate the appropriate drop in core body temperature needed to get a good night's sleep, with most research suggesting 65 degrees. We already talked about how light can impact the body's melatonin cycles so using black-out shades and/or an eye mask is a good idea. Lastly, a pair of earplugs can help keep unwanted noises from waking you. Hot Tip: place a piece of duct tape over any annoying device lights in your room.

Avoid Nightly Distractions.

It is hard to sleep if you are scrolling TikTok or notifications are ringing all night. Consider turning your phone on airplane mode, restricting access to apps at night, or activating settings that only allow emergency phone calls through at night. Keep your phone across the room to avoid grabbing it to scroll if you wake up in the middle of the night. 

Another reason to keep your phone away from your head at night is the growing research showing the negative impacts of EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) on sleep. These invisible waves are emitted from devices like your phone and Wifi router. Reducing the amount of electronics that are in your bedroom will help reduce your exposure. 

woman journaling before bed to wind her mind down

Move More and Reduce Stress.

Exercise or movement throughout the day will help reduce stress and put you in a parasympathetic state which is more optimal for sleep. Other stress management techniques like breathwork, meditation, and journaling will also help relax your mind and help you sleep better. 

Eat Your Way to Better Sleep.

What you eat can impact your sleep. Avoid caffeine past 2 pm as well as heavy meals and sugary snacks close to bedtime. Opt for a light, healthy dinner instead. Also note that while alcohol may make you feel drowsy initially, it greatly disrupts your sleep quality later in the night.

While supplements are easy to take, I always recommend making lifestyle changes, such as the ones mentioned above. Remember, you can’t out-supplement a poor diet or lifestyle. For those who have started implementing the above changes, magnesium bis-glycinate is usually my first recommendation for sleep supplements as it has been shown to calm the nervous system with little GI side effects.

I also always caution people about melatonin supplements; while these tend to work well they disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin which can lead to further complications down the road. 

chiropractor adjusting patient

Regular Chiropractic Care and Sleep. 

Chiropractic adjustments can improve spinal alignment and function, contributing to better sleep quality. By addressing joint dysfunction and muscle tension, chiropractic care can promote relaxation and a more comfortable sleep environment. 

Here at OWL Chiropractic, we are committed to helping you achieve optimal sleep health. In addition to the tips above, we can discuss personalized strategies to address any sleep concerns you may have.

Remember, a good night's sleep is vital for your overall health and well-being.

By incorporating these healthy sleep habits and routines into your life, you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

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