A good night’s rest has been empirically labeled as one of the single most important influences on our physical health. Healthy sleep patterns not only promote a long life but are also deemed as important for the body as diet and exercise. Unfortunately, most of us do not get the proper amount of sleep that our bodies require. Some studies say that not getting enough rest provides its own drastic consequences when it comes to the way we feel every day: “it reveals the price we have paid for ignoring sleep: an epidemic of heart disease, 33% of traffic-fatigue-related accidents, and immeasurable mental and psychological disadvantages” (William, Vaughn, 1999). Sleep deprivation and health issues seem to go hand-in-hand. As one researcher states, “You have to determine what is the chicken, and what is the egg.” He also asks, “Is pain a manifestation of, or made worse by, a sleep disorder or is pain causing the poor quality of sleep?” Which is a good question that I am sure many people would love to know about. What if your pain is caused by a sleep disorder? Wouldn’t it be great if you could discover ways to achieve restorative sleep and decrease your pain without needing to take more invasive means? Perhaps you could find a sleep-promoting herbal remedy such as melatonin, valerian, and chamomile tea. These are all great natural herbs that promote proper sleep patterns; however, there are other habits you can consider that may improve the quality of your sleep. For example:
- Don’t perform any other activity in your bed besides sleeping. What we mean is, don’t attempt to do homework, office work, reading (unless it’s just a few minutes right before bed), socializing on a smartphone, or other related activity in your bed. This helps train your body that when you are laying down in the bed, it’s time to prepare for sleep.
- If you take naps during the day, try to keep them around 15-20 minutes; this is just enough time to get rest but not feel groggy when you wake up. Napping during the day for longer than 30 minutes will leave you with that “useless,” groggy feeling and may disturb your nighttime sleep patterns.