A lot of adults struggle to get to sleep these days. Whether it be your mind is racing, your not comfortable, you bladder wakes you during the night or you have young children. Quality sleep is vital for our everyday functioning. The keyword being quality sleep. If you get 10hours sleep a night but wake multiple versus 8 solid hours, of uninterrupted sleep, the 8 hours solid sleep is far better.
Factors that effect sleep
1- Your mattress & pillow
Something simple (can be expensive) that is easily fixed and often overlooked. If your mattress is 15 years old, it is highly unlikely to be supportive and providing quality sleep. It most likely is also full of bugs from the past 15years (never google what bugs are in my mattress :-S). Look out for sales and/or interest free deals and upgrade your mattress. If a new mattress is not in the budget, you could try a mattress topper.
Also consider your pillow. I don't have a specific brand or type of pillow I recommend, as I believe pillows (and mattresses for that matter) are purely suited to the person. Personally I love the lavender pillow from Briscoes but that suits me. My husband finds it too high.
Try before you buy!
2- Mind racing
We lead such busy lives and often lying in bed we process our day, what the next day entails and everything we need to get done. I always recommend turning the tv off and lying with your legs up the wall for 20mins before bed. If your mind doesn't race at night then I still recommend the legs up the wall exercise but the tv can stay on. You can try meditation if that is your thing too.
3- Water intake
If your bladder wakes you a lot at night (pregnancy this can be hormonally based) then try limiting/reducing your fluids at night. Try no fluids after 7pm and see if this makes any difference but don't become dehydrated. Also assess your pelvic floor. Is your pelvic floor strong or do you slight wet yourself with coughing, laughing, sneezing, jumping, running? If so this needs addressing.
Are there certain foods that don't sit well in your tummy? Do you feel bloated after dinner? Do certain foods make you run to the bathroom? If your tummy is unhappy this will effect your ability to go to sleep and stay asleep.
5- Young children
This can't overly be avoided. If you have a spare bedroom, you could try sleeping in there or the lounge to try catch up on sleep, without being disrupted. On the weekends your partner and yourself could make turns sleeping in to catch up on sleep as well.
6- Osteopathic treatment
Osteopathy is a holistic form of hands-on, physical therapy that addresses the whole body. Identifying all the areas that are not functioning optimally and restoring function. Treatment can help with sleep by improving areas of the body that cause pain at night and prevent you from getting and staying comfortable. For example shoulder or hip bursitis. This commonly causes pain at night time when sleeping on your side. Treatment is aimed at relieving the pressure on the bursa by reducing the load from the local area. This addresses any joint restrictions, removing any muscle tension, improving local blood flow and lymphatic drainage to help your body remove any inflammation. If you suffer from arthritis that makes sleeping uncomfortable, whilst arthritis itself can not be fixed, improving other areas to compensate is very beneficial. Again improving the blood flow and lymphatics, helps the area effected by arthritis.
Sarah is a north shore osteopath, based in Milford, treating a variety of aches and pains. She is ACC registered, with no referral required. Book online or email Sarah to get a better nights sleep.