No Need to Count Sheep: 7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

No Need to Count Sheep: 7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

600 500 Kristi Corder

Nearly 40 million American men and women suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Are you one of them? Many times this can be attributed to stress, general health maladies, or the inability to shut off the brain.

With Daylight Saving Time coming up on March 10th and Sleep Awareness Week March 10th-16th, I thought I’d take some time to share a few ways you can naturally improve your sleep (without counting sheep).

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And of course, you can definitely contact me if you are needing a one-on-one consult to address your specific health concerns.

Sleep is just as important to us as eating a good diet and getting plenty of exercise. Our body uses sleep to heal, increase metabolism, improve our mood, and even stimulate immune system function. If you’re having some difficulty getting adequate sleep, you may want to choose one of the following methods to not only help improve your quality of sleep but improve your health.

1. Chiropractic Care

chiropractic adjustment to improve sleep

I found it interesting in my research that Johns Hopkins Medicine states “a healthy amount of sleep is vital for ‘brain plasticity,’ or the brain’s ability to adapt to input.”

As a chiropractor, my main focus with patients is making sure the brain communicates with the body properly. When there is miscommunication between the brain and the body, either the brain or the body suffers.

I have had numerous patients report back to me that they (or their child) slept better the night after their adjustment than they had in a long time. It never surprises me because chiropractic is all about restoring proper communication within the nervous system. So if you’re having issues sleeping, think about seeing your family chiropractor.

2. Homeopathy

Homeopathy to improve sleep

Have you ever taken Arnica for an injury? If you’ve used the little white sugar pills from the health food store, then you know a little bit about homeopathic medicine.

The premise of homeopathy is that “like cures like.” What this means is that the effect a substance has on a person in its gross form, it can have the opposite and curative effects in its highly diluted form.

Coffea cruda is one such example of how homeopathy can help with sleep. Coffee in its gross form is a stimulant. When it is homeopathically diluted, it aids in the calming of the person. And when used for chronic sleep issues, it can help to uproot the condition for good.

We have successfully used Coffea cruda 15 minutes before bed with one of our children who has difficulty shutting off her brain at night. For the first couple of weeks we used this remedy every night but now we only use it on a rare occasion.

There are many other homeopathic remedies that may be employed to help with acute or chronic sleep issues. Choosing the correct one requires careful examination of the person as a whole. Want to know more? Join one of my homeopathy study groups.

3. Nutrition

Nutrition to improve sleep

The health of your gut can play a huge role in how well you sleep. Have you ever heard that your gut is your “second brain”? Then it only makes sense that a healthy gut will play a role in how well (or bad) you sleep.

The sleep-wake cycle and hormones that regulate our sleep are directly affected by our gut microbiome. The more diverse the microbiome, the more balanced and healthy our gut becomes.

So how do we create a diverse microbiome?

Proper nutrition!

Increase your raw fruit and vegetable intake, drink bone broth daily, and incorporate wide varieties of fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. And if you need a little extra help, you can always add in a high quality probiotic.

4. Exercise

Walking to improve sleep

Everyone should be getting exercise numerous times per week to maintain a healthy body. But did you know exercise can also aid our sleep?

There are still a lot of unknowns in regards to exercise and sleep. Some researchers say that exercising increases adrenaline and can prolong getting to sleep, while others say that as long as you exercise during the daylight hours it aids in sleep. One promising study has shown that exercise can improve the quality of sleep in older adults.

So hit the gym, put on your walking shoes, or go out dancing. Regular physical activity may just be the answer you are looking for!

5. Soak in the Tub

Soak in the tub to improve sleep

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice relaxing bath?

Before bed, draw up a nice warm bath for soaking. The warm water will soothe tense muscles and increase blood circulation. Add some epsom salt to help detoxify your body, and diffuse a bit of lavender essential oil to help calm you from the stresses of the day.

6. Limit Electronics

Limit electronics to improve sleep

We live in a world with electronics. They have made some aspects of our lives easier. But sleep is not one of them.

Electronics give off blue light. Blue light has a short wavelength and thus higher energy. Harvard researchers have also found that blue light decreases melatonin secretion more than any other type of light which in turn makes it harder to fall asleep.

But electronics are also addictive. At one of my recent chiropractic seminars, Dr. Joseph Mercola stated that “cellphones are the cigarettes of the 21st century.” Check out his post with some frightening statistics regarding cell phone use.

Many people go to bed with a cellphone in their hand which causes a cycle of sleep deprivation. I mentioned in the previous paragraph that light from a cellphone decreases melatonin. This makes it harder to go to sleep. If we can’t go to sleep, then what do we do? We look at the cellphone even more. And then the cycle just gets worse over time.

So put away those screens before bed. Start gradually by limiting screen exposure 30 minutes before bed. Then after a week, limit exposure an hour before bed, and so on.

7. Pillow and Mattress

Pillow to improve sleep

A good pillow and mattress can make all the difference in your sleep.

As a chiropractor, I’m asked time and again which pillow and/or mattress is the best for the health of the spine. And time and again, I’ve had to say I don’t know. It’s been a real struggle for me personally to find the best pillow and mattress for myself. And how can I recommend something that I won’t even use?

While I loved our Sealy Posturepedic mattress for the first 5 or so years we had it, it got worn out and needed replacing just like any other mattress on the market. And as far as pillows go, I have spent my entire chiropractic career searching for a great pillow. And just recently at a chiropractic seminar, I think I found the mattress and pillow that I can honestly say are the best I’ve ever come across.

While I haven’t purchased the mattress, I have slept on the pillow for the last 2 weeks. No pillow has given me a good night’s sleep like this pillow. It’s not too fluffy, not too hard, not too thick, and not too thin. It cradles my head and curves around my shoulders which provides a gentle traction for my neck at night. And bonus! It is made from REAL latex materials unlike the synthetic latex many other companies use.

If you’re in the market for a great pillow, I highly recommend the Side Sleeper Pillow from Chiro-Core. It was designed by a chiropractor, and is chiropractor approved!

If you’re like the other 40 million Americans that have difficulty sleeping, take some time to evaluate each of the methods I’ve mentioned above to see if they will help you catch some much needed zzz’s.

Do you have another method that helps you get to sleep? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to pin this article for later!
Nearly 40 million American men and women suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Are you one of them? Here are 7 ways you can improve your sleep today. #ImproveSleep #SleepBetter #SleepTips #WayBeyondTheNorm
  • Awesome post… I am a true night owl I have a hard time falling asleep, my mind keeps going, maybe I can try some of these suggestions…

    • Hi Rhonda!

      Your story sounds like my daughter. She has the toughest time getting her brain to shut off at night. Coffea cruda has been the biggest help with improving her sleep. I think it might help you as well! Thanks for reading!

  • Great tips, and an interesting read from the chiropractic perspective. Thanks!

  • This is a great list! I especially need to work on limiting electronics before bed. Thanks for the tips!

    • Hillary,

      Isn’t that the hardest thing to do? I’m stuck on this one myself and I know I need to do a lot better. It’s especially hard with kids, because after they go to bed is the only time you get to catch up on the news from the day…or in my case, it’s the only time I get to read/watch/listen to the things that interest me. 🙂

  • Great tips! I have never tried or even heard of the Coffea cruda before, I will definitely look for it in my health store. I have tried melatonin without much luck, unfortunately. Generally, when I can’t sleep I put on a deep sleep meditation, more often than not, it knocks me right out.

    • Hi Danica!

      Glad you were able to find something new in my post. Many times, Coffea cruda will not only help with the difficulties of sleep but help uproot the issue altogether so that you don’t have those problems anymore. Hope you are able to find it at your health food store!

  • I’ve had such sleep issues in the past year! Where can I find coffea cruda, and how do I take it? I’m ready to try new things – great advice. Thanks!

    • Hi Julie!

      Coffea cruda can be found in the homeopathy section at most health food stores. Places like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and Sprouts all carry homeopathic remedies. If they don’t happen to have the remedy, you can always search Amazon or go to the Boiron website and order directly from them. Let me know how it goes!

  • I’ve never connected going to the chiropractor and my sleep habits, I can definitely see how they go together! Makes me think maybe a trip to my chiropractor is what I need, It can be so hard to get quality sleep now days! Thanks for sharing!

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