Your sleep habits and health go hand in hand, often affecting each other cyclically. Inadequate sleep can cause health issues. However, there are also certain health issues that make it hard to get the sleep your mind and body need.
It’s important to understand how these health issues can negatively impact your quality of sleep so you can take care of them accordingly. From there, you can use different holistic health practices to improve your sleep and hopefully boost your overall well-being in the process.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few of those practices you can use to boost your sleep quality. Utilizing these practices will give you a more fulfilling night’s sleep and can help to break any negative cycle that’s formed between your health and your resting state.
Taking care of your mind and body is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality. That starts with preventative care from head to toe. According to the NHS, adults between the ages of 40 and 74 should see a doctor for a health check at least every five years. This can help to monitor your overall well-being and calculate the risks of conditions like:
- Heart disease;
- Kidney disease;
It’s not uncommon for people with some of these conditions to have sleep problems, including insomnia. For example, it’s estimated that one out of two people with diabetes has sleep problems due to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
Every aspect of preventative care is important including your oral health. You might be surprised to know that everything from canker sores to cavities can have a negative impact on your sleep. Seeing a dentist regularly can help to prevent these issues or offer you some insight on how to treat oral issues impacting sleep.
Managing Your Mental Health
While monitoring your physical health is essential, your mental wellness is just as important for a good night’s rest – perhaps even more so. Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and anxiety have all been linked to insomnia and other sleep issues. Unfortunately, this is where things really get cyclical. The more you struggle with issues like anxiety, the harder it is to fall asleep. The less sleep you get, the worse your anxiety becomes.
If you’re struggling with a mental health condition and disrupted sleep, reaching out for professional help is your best resource. Talking to a therapist or counsellor will help you uncover the root causes of your condition so you can work through them from the ground up.
Meditation for Sleep
It’s also essential to find ways to relax and reduce your stress every day. While that can look different for everyone, one of the best ways to improve your mental health is to practice meditation. Meditation may help sleep if you practice regularly.
Meditation has been stereotyped far too often over the years, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. When it comes to sleep, regular meditation can help to:
- Decrease blood pressure;
- Increase melatonin and serotonin;
- Reduce heart rate.
It also improves the effects of anxiety, boosts your mood, and can provide enough relaxation to make it easy to fall asleep. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and concentrate on deep breathing for a few minutes while you clear your mind. You’ll start to experience the benefits of this practice sooner than you might think!
While regularly seeing health professionals is a great way to ensure you stay healthy, there are things you should also do each day to maintain your personal routine. Practising self-care is crucial for improving your sleep, and it’s easy to find ways to do it each day. Self-care doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It can be something as simple as reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or getting more exercise.
Healthy Food and Exercise for Sleep
Exercise is especially important if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk or standing for long periods of time. Doing so can cause increased joint and vein issues, including varicose veins. Issues like this can contribute to cramping, muscle aches, and Restless Leg Syndrome. Walking, yoga, and functional strength training are all great options to stay healthy and reduce your risk of those leg issues. Regular exercise can also make it easier for you to fall asleep at night because your body craves sleep in order to repair itself.
In addition to physical activity, fueling yourself properly is an effective form of self-care. In fact, food often impacts sleep. Certain foods, including heavily-processed items and foods with a lot of refined sugars, can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Other items like nuts, rice, and tart cherries can actually improve your sleep time.
Taking care of yourself from the inside out is the key to getting better sleep. By managing any existing conditions, practising preventative care, and choosing to prioritize your physical and mental health, you’ll be rewarded with more restful and fulfilling nights.