We see a lot of new Practice Members that come into PRANA that are taking all sorts of over-the-counter and prescribed sleep aids. While we definitely need sleep, these synthetically produced sleep aids certainly don’t add to our overall health. One thing that I explain to our Practice Members is that for every positive benefit afforded by a medication, there is an equal to or greater than, negative side effect it also causes. Now don’t get me wrong, I will never encourage a patient to get off of any medications that their Medical Doctor has prescribed. Pharmacology isn’t my area of specialization, and in many cases prescribed medications have saved lives, but I will say this, there are many people that take prescription medications for “conditions” in which they could control themselves through diet, exercise, and natural healthcare options such as Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology. So I have compiled an easy list of steps that you and your family can take in order to improve sleep habits, without the potential side effects from over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids.
(1) So in terms of sleep issues, the first step I take with Practice Members and suggest for everyone, is get under regular Chiropractic care. Maintaining the proper alignment of the spine, and thereby making certain our nervous system is free of interference, is number one on the list. When the brain is fully able to communicate with the body as it is designed to do, the body spends much less time and energy just trying to maintain balance. With no nervous system interference, the body’s endocrine system is much more capable of producing and excreting the proper hormones, including those necessary for regulating sleep.
(2) Make certain that you’re getting plenty of exercise each day. This is without a doubt the most effective thing that I have found in my own life, in terms of improving my personal sleeping habits. I promote to Practice Members the importance of keeping it simple when it comes to putting together an exercise routine. Start by walking 20 minutes a day, 3 times per week. Grab a copy of either of my books that are available on Amazon.com or at our office (Simply Wellness: Learning to Live a Wellness Based Lifestyle One Day at a Time and The Wellness Revolution: A Chiropractic and Natural Approach to Optimal Health) for more information on simple exercise and workout routines.
(3) Drink a cup of Chamomile or Kava tea about 20 minutes before bed time. Both of these herbal teas provide a natural and safe way to unwind each evening and are available at most grocery stores. Another hugely successful natural sleep aid that I have found is CBD oil. We carry CBD oil at PRANA, so swing by to learn more about the over 250 health benefits of this essential oil and how it can drastically improve your sleep.
(4) Check you mattress and pillows, as well as your sleep positioning. Having the right mattress is a big deal, and nowadays a big business. This is a good thing though, meaning that now more than ever, there are beds specifically designed for different people, with different sleeping habits. A mattress that is too soft or too firm can leave you feeling tired, sore, and cranky the next day. Take the time to explore your options and ask questions to the sales team at the local mattress shop for ideas on what’s best for you. In terms of pillows, I promote that our Practice Members use a cervical pillow for sleeping and aim to get at least 2 hours of sleep per night on your back with this type of pillow. We have this type pillow available at PRANA, or you can do a quick internet search to find one. I prefer the type that is shaped like a normal pillow with the indention for your head right in the middle.
(5) The final tip to naturally improve sleep that I have found to be useful, for both Practice Members and myself, is set up a sleep routine and follow it. This means that you should aim to get to bed at the same time each night, as well as, aim to get up each morning at the same time. Avoid distractions like having the TV on while you sleep, avoid drinking too many liquids prior to bedtime, and have the room nice and dark. Get in the habit of unwinding and avoiding any strenuous activities, have your cup of relaxing tea about 20 minutes prior, and get into a routine.
I hope these simple and natural sleep-improving tips help you get a better night’s sleep, which equals a much more productive day afterwards. Sleep is one of the most important steps we can take to living a Wellness Based Lifestyle.
In Wellness and Love,
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.