When it comes to getting good quality sleep, most of us are failing… Issues with sleep is the 2nd leading cause of doctor visits, and prescription sleeping ‘aids’ have skyrocketed in the past decade.
Clearly, we are doing something wrong…
In this blog post, I share my own sleep routine including 5 bedtime habits that I have found to help in getting my sleep on track. I also share the best-kept secret to better sleep that few people know about…
How To Engineer The Perfect Night’s Sleep
If you’ve raised kids, (so I’ve been told…) you know the importance of having a consistent bedtime routine. When you stick to the routine, the chances of your kids falling asleep and staying asleep go up dramatically.
Which brings up a great question: Why would it be any different for us adults?
And the short answer is – it’s not different. In fact, having a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most powerful tools to engineer the perfect night’s sleep!
A simple exercise is to reverse-engineer your optimal sleeping schedule.
- What time do you want to get up?
- How many hours of sleep do you need? (Answer: 7-9)
- How many minutes do you require to fall asleep?
It’s important to recognize that there’s a big difference between ‘sleep’ time and bedtime. For me, it takes a solid 20min to fall asleep after I turn the lights out.
My ideal wake-up time is 5 am, and I do best on 7 hrs of sleep. That means I need to be sleeping by 10 pm. It takes me 20min to fall asleep so that means lights out at 9:40. My Bedtime routine takes about 40min, so that means my bedtime routine starts at 9 pm.
What’s included in my bedtime routine?
Your New Sleep Routine
1. 5 Minute Brain Dump
This is the last thing I do before I shut down my laptop or phone. The purpose is to put your mind at ease and get out of your head any lingering thoughts from the day, good or bad. At the same time, set your intentions for the next day. Your brain doesn’t like open-loops (ie. unresolved problems), but when it’s written down, your brain can put it aside.
2. Shut Down Technology
Check out last week’s blog for all the details on how technology messes with your sleep. Short story: It does, and disconnecting from any technology one hour before your desired sleep time appears to be the optimal cut off point. I use the bedtime alarm on my phone and Macbook to make sure my technology is off by 9pm.
3. Unwind and Mobilize
Doing some stretching and mobilization at night can really help to shift your brain from active state to a restful state. Turn the lights down and do some gentle yoga, foam rolling, mindfulness etc. The exercises I shared in Healthy TV | Episode 061 are perfect for this time of night.
4. Connect With Your Partner (or Connect With Yourself)
If you live with a spouse/partner, take the time to connect and share your day with them. Listen, and express your love and gratitude for them. If you’re on your own (like me), then take a few minutes to journal about what you’re grateful for from your day, and what you WILL be grateful for tomorrow.
Reading, especially fiction, is a great way to prepare the brain for sleeping. I actually prefer choosing books that I only kinda like haha… That way I don’t mind putting them down after 10-15min.
The Best Kept Secret To Getting Great Sleep
One of the most common comments we hear from practice members is:
‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sleeping better than I have in years!’
In fact, it’s so common that I typically let people know to expect it, especially if they struggle with getting good quality sleep. To see the proof of this, check out Healthy TV | Episode 065 on Facebook where I share several case studies.
The reason is pretty simple: We only work with people who have a core problem in their spine which is causing tension, pressure or irritation to the nerves that connect the brain to the body.
This irritation is stressful to the brain, causes an increase in stress hormones like cortisol and, ultimately keeps you awake.
This distortion in the spine may cause problems that you become aware of, like back or neck pain, headaches, hip or shoulder pain, mobility issues, dizziness, breathing problems or digestion issues… But most often the problems are entirely unknown to you.
The truth is I don’t know if we can help with your particular sleep problem, that’s why we always start with a complimentary consultation. Based on that conversation your doctor will have a good idea whether you are in the right place to get the care you need. If not, we will work together to find the right healthcare practitioner for you.
Schedule your complimentary consultation by clicking the button below.