In today’s hectic world, sleep can seem like a luxury. Between work, school and social obligations, many of us feel like we don’t have time to get enough sleep, and when we do have time to catch some Z’s, we can’t manage to turn our brains off. And for those who suffer from back pain, the time change can be a period of increased pain. As we spring forward on March 13, most of us will find that it takes our bodies a few weeks to adjust to the time change. Here are some tips I would like to share that can help you prepare for bedtime and prevent back pain.
Electronic Devices and Sleep
These days, our electronic devices are practically part of our bodies. While they are useful tools, our electronics can also have a big impact on our ability to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, not only can the light emitted by our phones and other electronics keep us up at night, using electronics before bed can cause the brain to stay active, making it harder to sleep. One tip is to stop using your electronic devices at least one hour before you go to bed. If you want to get a better night’s rest, you might consider removing electronics from your bedroom altogether.
Your Sleeping Environment
One thing that is often overlooked is your bedroom and how you can make a few changes to help you sleep better. It is recommended to sleep in a cool environment, the ideal temperature being between 65 to 68 degrees. Another recommendation is to keep your bedroom dark. Street lights, lights from other homes or from your electronic devices can disrupt your sleep. Lastly, I recommend starting a short breathing/meditation exercise before going to sleep.
Diet and Sleep
Your diet and the timing of your meals can have a big impact on your sleep cycle. Eating late at night, for example, can make it harder for your body to shut down and could result in an upset stomach that will keep you up. In addition, eating sugary foods and drinks or caffeinated beverages close to bedtime can make falling asleep more difficult, so it’s best to avoid them before you hit the hay.
Exercise and Sleep
The more energy you burn during the day, the easier it will be for you to nod off at night. In addition, leading a sedentary lifestyle can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. If you’re having trouble heading off to dreamland, getting some exercise may be the prescription you need. Be sure to talk to a doctor about your sleep issues. They may recommend an exercise program that will make it easier to achieve quality, restful sleep.
Michele Perez, MD, received her medical degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans, LA. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Additionally, she is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the North American Spine Society. Dr. Perez serves on the Board of Directors for Resurgens Orthopaedics. She practices at the Resurgens Canton and Kennesaw locations.
Resurgens Spine Center • Nonsurgical & Surgical Spine Care • 24 Convenient Atlanta Locations • www.ResurgensSpine.com