Following on from last week’s post, here is part 2 of our series on Tips for Better Sleep from Dr Brendan O’Louglin (Osteopath).
Trouble falling asleep
- Only go to bed when sleepy: If you don’t fall sleep within 15 minutes then get up, move to another room and read or listen to relaxing music until you feel drowsy, then return to bed. When you are not tired, restrict your sleep and your body will become more efficient at sleeping. Warm non-caffeinated drinks are OK. Avoid bright lights as this can stimulate your wake cycle.
- Try to stay awake: Stop telling yourself to go to sleep as this causes stress. Tell your self to stay awake as long as you can as this will help take the agitation away.
- Mind games: Think of animals that begin with each letter of the alphabet, see yourself painting an endless fence and count the short brush strokes or the old classic – count sheep. Try not to think about things in your life or your next day ahead.
Good sleep habits
- Regular hours: Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Develop a regular routine prior to bed, eg. Make lunch, brush teeth etc. This will cue your body for sleep and prepare your brain for rest.
- Napping: Sleep at night as daytime sleep can upset your sleep-wake cycle. Sleeping in one continuous block provides the most beneficial, rejuvenating sleep. If you are exhausted and need to nap, then do it no longer than 30min and not after 3pm. Longer naps disable the body’s ability to stay asleep during the night.
- Quantity: Required sleep varies from 5-10 hours from person to person. 7.5 is the average, however 8-9 hours is what is generally recommended. To check what you need, average the number of hours slept each night for a week when you wake without an alarm clock. An alarm clock disrupts sleep, try to go to bed early enough so that you wake by your self prior to your alarm – listen to your body clock.
- Sleep debt: Pay back lost sleep quickly (the next night). Avoid consecutive nights of sleep loss.
Quick sleeplessness remedies
- Upset stomach? Avoid high fat foods prior to bed as these take longer to digest. Sip warm herbal tea eg. Chamomile or Ginseng
- Take a warm bath prior to bed
- A couple drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow can act as a gentle sedative
- Getting a massage can help relax your body and relieve tension
- Osteopathic treatment can improve sleep posture, making sleep more comfortable and easier to get to sleep.
Dr Brendan O’Louglin is an Osteopath at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre. He has experience managing severe acute working and sporting injuries as well as chronic postural dysfunction and medical conditions.
If you want to discuss any aspect of sleep or health with Brendan or one of our other practitioners, please feel free to ask a question, contact us or email us at info@