According to the National Institutes of Health “…sleep is as important for good health as diet and exercise. Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health. Not getting enough quality sleep regularly raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia.”

So before you jump into numerous new year’s resolutions, maybe your first goal should be getting a good night’s sleep! Sounds logical, but can also be a challenge for many.

Here are a few tips:

Create a restful environment – are you sleeping on a bed that has yesterday’s laundry sitting on it? Is there a tv blasting in the room just moments before you close your eyes? Take a few moments to create a more relaxing atmosphere – dim the lights, tidy up for 2 mins, play white noise in the background. Check the temperature as well – warm temperatures can keep the body too alert to reach the REM restorative sleep stage.

Wind down earlier – don’t expect to go from deep cleaning your kitchen to snoring soundly. Your body (well mostly your brain!) needs time to wind down. Put steps in place that tell your brain it can relax. Have a bath, read, do light stretching or yoga, journal or meditate.

Be Consistent – Life has a way of throwing off our plans, but trying to build a consistent bedtime (for yourself and your family) can improve your sleep quality. This routine should include leaving screen time behind at least an hour before your head hits the pillow.

Final Tip, assess your bed – determine if your mattress and pillow are hurting or helping you. If you are waking with neck pain, chances are your pillow may be the cause. Overnight, your neck should be able to rest comfortably and be supported in a way that reduces stress on it – not have an increase in stress that causes pain! Ask your PROTx therapist for suggestions, including information on the only pillow we sell – Pillowise custom fitted pillows.

Pillowise pillows are available at all PROTx locations (Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, Elmsdale, Stewiacke).