There’s nothing more reviving and rejuvenating than a good night’s sleep. It may be more productive for your health than just helping you have more energy during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, individuals that were motivated to get enough sleep reported roughly 4.2 more hours of sleep per week (about 36 more minutes of sleep per night) compared to those that did not prioritize sleep. It has also been reported that getting an additional 15 to 30 minutes of sleep each night reduces the potential to interfere with work, mood, activities, relationships, and enjoyment of life overall.
Did you know that adequate sleep may help with…
Optimizing immune function
Speeding up tissue healing
Regulating pain sensation
Assisting with cardiovascular health
Improving learning, memory, and cognitive function
Current research shows that chronic sleep insufficiency may lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression/anxiety or diabetes. Chronic or acute pain is a factor that may influence the productivity or quality of sleep you are able to achieve.
How To Improve Your Sleep, Specifically When in Pain
Stop or limit caffeine consumption Current research suggests that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime may reduce total sleep time by 1 hour.
Limit alcohol intake Alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is associated with increased production of proteins.
Use pain killers and/or sleeping pills prior to sleeping, but only under the discretion of a physician.
Promote optimal sleep environment Notice noise, temperature, light, and comfort of your mattress, altering any of the factors that may influence the quality of your sleep.
Relaxation techniques There are many different types of relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or guided imagery to name a couple. Ttry out some of these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation.
Give these techniques a try
Breathing exercise. Close your eyes and notice your breathing. Turn all your attention to your natural breathing pattern and feel the air enter and leave your nose or mouth. Visualize the flow of air as it passes through your mouth, airways, down into your belly, and back out again. Survey your body for any tension, and as you exhale, feel the tension leave that part of your body. Visualize your breath reaching your forehead, your neck, your shoulders, your arms… and then releasing the tension as you exhale. If your mind wanders to another worry or thought, let it go and gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
Guided imagery. The idea in this exercise is to focus your attention on an image or story, so that your mind can let go of worries or thoughts that keep you awake… Get into a comfortable position in bed. Close your eyes and relax. Begin to visualize a scene, memory, or story that you find calming. This is highly individual—find what works best for you by trying a few choices. For example: a favorite vacation or calming outdoor spot, a relaxing activity like curling up with a book in your favorite chair, or something repetitive like remembering the steps of an exercise or dance routine. The key is to find something that allows you to focus your attention and let go of other thoughts. Begin to create this scenario in your mind. Visualize all the details of the image or story, as slowly and carefully as you can. Any time you find your mind drifting to an unrelated thought (a worry about the day or a “must do” for tomorrow), acknowledge it and let it go. Turn your mind’s eye back to your relaxing story. It’s okay if this takes time before it works, each time you practice you will get better at it.
Welcome to our guest blogger, Emily Tills, (Registered Dietitian [...]
By Colleen Schutt|2024-02-12T14:57:56+00:00February 12th, 2024|Categories: Healthy Living|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Advice from a Registered Dietitian | How Can Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes Improve Heart Health?