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Establishing a Successful Sleep Routine

Sleep is extremely important to our overall health. Poor sleep can have a wide array of impacts on our bodies, such as:

  • Weight gain and metabolism changes

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Irritability and mood changes

  • Altered immune function and disease

  • Learning and memory issues

  • Prolonged tissue healing

  • Nervous system excitability


There are many reasons why people struggle with their sleep routines, some medical, but most are environmental or self-induced. Below are some tips you can start today to help yourself get more quality hours of rest.


Research has shown going to bed and waking up at similar times actually helps your brain develop an efficient internal clock which tells your body when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to wake up and perform. You should aim to get up and seek bright light at approximately the same time whenever possible, including weekends. Believe it or not, you can actually train yourself to be a better morning person.


Screens emit light that signals the brain that it’s daytime and suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. This enhances alertness and makes it difficult to sleep. Studies have also shown that screen time before bed increases jaw clenching and grinding! We recommend 1 hour before bed to avoid screen use. If you are having trouble sleeping resist the urge to reach for your phone in bed, try leaving your phone out of the room and out of reach.


Consistent and timely physical activity is a key ingredient to slipping into a restful and restorative sleep. Our body can often feel restless without some form of exercise, so do something to move your body everyday, even if it’s light in nature (ie. stretching, light jog, low-intensity strengthening circuit). It is recommended not to participate in heavy exercises 90 minutes before bed however, as this can excite the nervous system making it difficult to unwind again.


  • Light reading

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages

  • Take a warm bath or shower

  • Have a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea

  • Gentle stretching or yoga

  • Meditation


Back Sleeping (Good)

  • Sleeping on your back is ideal for spine and neck health as you are not forced into unnatural positions. Back sleeping helps your mattress do its job of supporting the spine. When sleeping on your back, ensure you have the correct pillow to leave your neck in its neutral position. 

  • If your pillow is too large it will bring your head forward potentially obstructing air flow and causing you to wake up. Too small of a pillow and your head will tip back causing snoring.


Side Sleeping (Good)

  • Sleeping on your side improves circulation and when done properly can support the spine and muscles nicely. This position also decreases snoring.

  • Avoid sleeping on your side with arm above head under your pillow or tucking your knees up, this can strain your lower back ligaments. As above, have the right size pillow to support your head and fill in the gap between you head and shoulder. Your neck should be in neutral, meaning the bridge of your nose should be parallel to the floor when on your side.


Fetal Position Sleeping (Bad!)

  • This may feel comfortable at first, but it will cause strain on your back and joints. It is best that your shoulders and neck are aligned when sleeping and it’s difficult for this to happen in the fetal position. 


Stomach Sleeping (Worst!)

  • Although this position can sometimes help ease snoring, it puts your spine in unnatural curved position. This position is not generally recommended, imagine spending 8 hours with your head turned all the way to the right, of course you'll end up tight and in pain.


The above are all tips and suggestions that may help promote better sleep habits. Those who make these subtle changes and find a more restful sleep, often report how amazingly different their body and quality of life is. If there are more serious medical factors affecting your sleep, it is recommended you speak to a health professional for further testing.

Sweet Dreams!

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