woman with driving anxiety

Driving Anxiety

Driving anxiety is a common issue. It can range from a slight uneasiness at getting behind the wheel to an all-out phobia that causes you to avoid driving, no matter what. 

It’s actually one of the most common phobias out there, and it can have a number of causes. But no matter how it arises, when anxiety gets in the way of driving a car, it can really limit your independence.

So if you think you or someone you know is dealing with a fear of driving, here’s what you need to know: there are a number of options that can help you overcome it.

But first, here are some common causes of driving anxiety, and the symptoms that it can bring.

What Causes Driving Anxiety?

  • Traumatic experience: If you were in a car accident or near-miss, it can trigger a fear of driving. That can also be true if you witnessed an accident or even just heard about one.
  • Panic attacks: If you’re someone who has ever experienced panic attacks or just felt on the verge of one, you may be afraid of having one in the car and losing control.
  • Vicious cycle: Some experts say that if you become anxious about driving, it leads you to make more mistakes, which then feeds your anxiety.  

Symptoms of Driving Anxiety

For people with a fear of driving, getting behind the wheel will cause some of the usual physical symptoms of fear:

  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling faint
  • Tingling
  • Chest pain 
  • Dry mouth 

And these are some behaviors that are common signs of driving anxiety:

  • Avoiding driving altogether
  • Avoiding driving on the highway, bridges, tunnels, or certain routes
  • Feeling as though you were on “automatic pilot” while driving

Overcoming Your Driving Anxiety

Relaxation techniques

As with any form of anxiety, there are relaxation techniques that may help you overcome the symptoms and be better prepared to face your fear. Many people find that simply focusing on taking deep slow breaths is an effective method, but there are a variety of relaxation techniques to choose from, such as:


Mental Health Therapy

If relaxation techniques aren’t working, you may want to consider mental health therapy, as it is highly effective at treating anxiety disorders. Psychologists can help you identify the cause of your anxiety and deal with it. Typically, they do that with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). 

CBT addresses the negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety and then helps you change those thinking patterns. It also gives you guidance on how to face your fear and see that your anxieties were unfounded.

 

Keep driving

While you’re working on addressing your anxiety, you should continue driving as much as you can. Completely avoiding driving can increase your anxiety, and the idea of getting back on the road will grow into a more daunting task over time. 

Phobias are often treated with exposure therapy, which means facing your fear, one baby step at a time. So try to gradually drive more and more, and work towards the routes or situations that give you the most anxiety.

If you’re worried that you lack driving skills or that anxiety will make you unsafe behind the wheel, there are driving instructors who specialize in helping people with anxiety. And as always, drive safe!

Wall squat for Knee Strength

Knee strengthening exercises

If you’ve suffered a knee injury, or are just trying to prevent one before it happens, knee strengthening exercises can help.

By strengthening the muscles around your knee, you can ensure the joint is properly supported. This will reduce strain on the joint, which relieves knee pain and lowers your risk for injuries.

Here are some simple exercises knee strengthening exercises that you can use right away:

Hamstring Curls

This exercise strengthens muscles in the back of your thighs and buttocks.

  1. Find a countertop, chair, or another object to hold on to for balance.
  2. Stand with your knees close together, only about 1-2 inches apart.
  3. Slowly bend one knee, lifting your foot behind your body until your shin is parallel with the ground.
  4. Avoid locking your other knee by keeping it slightly bent.
  5. Hold the knee bend for up to 5 seconds.

Seated Leg Raises

This exercise will strengthen the muscles in the front of your thighs.

  1. Sit in a chair and adjust its height or put pillows on the seat until your feet dangle just above the ground.
  2. Hold onto the sides of the chair to stabilize yourself.
  3. Slowly extend one leg until it’s almost parallel to the ground, and try to keep it as straight as possible without locking your knee.
  4. Pause briefly before lowering your leg.


Wall Squats

This exercise strengthens muscles in the front of your thighs and buttocks.

  1. Stand with your back flat against a wall.
  2. While keeping your back and shoulders against the wall. Step your feet forward. about 24 inches away from the wall, no wider than hip-width apart.
  3. By bending your knees slowly, slide your back down the wall, until you are just above normal seated position.
  4. Hold that position for 5 seconds, extend your knees to slide back up the wall.

Step Exercises

This exercise will strengthen muscles in your hips, buttocks, and the front and back of your thighs.

  1. Use an exercise platform or stool that’s no taller than 6 inches.
  2. Step up on the platform with one foot and keep your other foot slightly behind you so it’s hanging in mid-air.
  3. Hold that position for up to five seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the hanging foot back to the floor, and then step off the platform.
    Alternate to the other leg.

Exercising With a Knee Injury

You may find knee injuries make it difficult to get exercise since you rely on your knees whenever you walk, run, jump, or climb. However, there are a few things that can help you be more active despite a knee injury—and can help you heal faster.

One example is physiotherapy. Physiotherapists can analyze your injury and create a personalized exercise plan that will speed your recovery safely. 

Another example is a functional knee brace. These braces can provide some added support and prevent the knee from making unnatural movements while allowing you to be active. That means there’s less risk of aggravating your injury through exercise.

To learn more about how exercise can help with knee injuries and pain, speak with your doctor.

woman with Sciatica

Everything you need to know about sciatica

If you experience pain in your lower back and leg, you may have been told you have sciatica. That’s a fine starting point, but you may be wondering what to do next.

Sciatica is a term that’s often thrown around and sometimes misunderstood. So if you think you may have sciatica, here’s what you need to know.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not a specific medical condition. It’s actually a set of symptoms that can have several causes.

It involves pain and numbness along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your hip and buttock and down your leg. The most common cause is a pinched nerve due to an underlying back issue.

How to Spot It

Here are some of the symptoms that can indicate you’re dealing with sciatica:

  • Pain, numbness, and tingling affecting the lower back, hip, buttock, thigh, calf, and/or foot.
  • The pain originates in the lower back and then radiates down.
  • The symptoms are typically only on one side of the body.
  • The pain gets worse in certain positions such as when sitting or twisting the spine.

Common Causes of Sciatica

Usually, sciatica is the result of a back issue that causes one of the bones in your spine to pinch the sciatic nerve. There are several conditions that can be the root cause, including:

  • Herniated disk
  • Spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Degenerative disk disease

There are also some risk factors that affect your chances of developing sciatica. They include obesity, age, and prolonged sitting.

Treatment For Sciatica

To get some quick pain relief from sciatica, you can try using hot or cold packs and doing some lower back stretching. But to solve the issue, you should consider getting some treatment.

Sciatica can normally be resolved with physical therapy in a few weeks. A physical therapist can create a custom treatment plan that will reduce pain, address the underlying issues, and speed your recovery.

The treatment can involve a variety of therapies such as exercises, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and more. 

What to Watch Out For

There are also some symptoms that may indicate you have a more serious condition. They include bowel/bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and symptoms in both legs. So if any of those symptoms crop up, be sure to tell your healthcare provider.

Breathing exercise

10 Steps to Pain Relief with this Simple Breathing Exercise

Breathing exercise for pain

Prescription painkillers are an essential aid for many people. If you’re living with some sort of chronic pain, painkillers might be necessary just so you can function and lead a normal life.   

However, they can also come with strong side effects. That’s one reason you may want to find alternative ways to relieve pain—but there are many other reasons too:

  • Your medications aren’t doing enough.
  • You want to find a more natural solution.
  • You don’t have pain medication on hand.

Whatever your reason, here is a very simple breathing exercise you can use to find some relief from all types of pain. Whether you’re suffering from headaches, an injury, or a chronic condition, this exercise can help you take control of your body and manage your pain.

Breathe Deep and Relax

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable spot.
  2. Put one hand on your stomach, right above your belly button
  3. Put your other hand on the middle of your chest
  4. Take a deep breath and notice how the hand on your belly rises first, followed by the hand on your chest.
  5. Briefly hold the breath, then slowly let it out. Notice how your chest and abdomen move as you exhale.
  6. Continue breathing deeply while concentrating on the air entering your nose and mouth. Picture it filling your lungs.
  7. Try to make your breaths longer and slower.
  8. As you inhale, imagine the air is surrounding all the pain in your body.
  9. As you exhale, imagine you’re blowing pain and stress out of your mouth.
  10. Take notice of how the pain has lessened already, and continue.

Why Does It Work?

Have you ever paid attention to the way you breathe when you’re relaxed? Probably not. It sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? But you should take a moment to think about it now.

When you’re at your most relaxed, you take deeper and slower breaths than usual. This is one reason that deep breathing can calm you down. It makes your body feel like it does when you’re relaxed, which helps you actually relax. In a way, it’s similar to how studies have shown that the physical act of smiling can make you feel happier.

In addition, deep breathing oxygenates your blood and stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

Preventing other issues

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you’re in pain, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises, and your body releases stress hormones. Pain can also affect your quality of sleep, and lead to changes in your mental state.

If you’re in pain often, those changes can take a toll on your body over time. For example, it can weaken your immune system and increase your risk for heart disease.

However, concentrating on relaxing can counteract those changes. With a little practice, you can train yourself to have better control over your body’s reactions to pain. And that can help you avoid other health issues down the line. 

Other Pain Management Techniques

If you’re looking for other simple ways to help manage your pain, take a look at this list:

Music therapy: Simply listening to your favourite music can work wonders for relaxation and taking your mind off of pain. However, some studies show that making music is even more effective, so consider taking up an instrument or at least humming along!

Massage: Getting a massage from a loved one can provide an endorphin boost, but to get all of the benefits of massage you should consider visiting a massage therapist.

Heat and cold: Sometimes the tried-and-true methods are the best way to go. Cold is great for numbing painful areas and heat can help relax tense muscles or stiff joints.

Mental Health Therapy: Sometimes chronic pain can be related to your mental state. Did you know that conditions like depression or anxiety can increase your sensitivity to pain? That’s why seeing a mental health professional can help relieve pain.

Massage Heart Health

How massage helps heart health

Massage and Heart Health

When you think about ways to keep your heart healthy, massage is probably not at the top of the list. But believe it or not, getting a massage not only feels great, but it can also improve your heart health in several ways.

Reduces Hypertension

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a major risk factor for heart issues. That’s because it can damage your blood vessels, cause your heart to enlarge, and possibly lead to a heart attack or heart failure.

 But several studies have shown that massage reduces hypertension. Some findings suggest the reason for this is massage calms the sympathetic nervous system, which controls blood pressure. As a result, it can lower both your diastolic and systolic blood pressure, relieve symptoms of hypertension, and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Helps You Stay Active by Speeding Up Recovery

Another way that massage can help your heart health is by helping you be more active. Research shows that massage is effective at reducing inflammation after exercise. That means if you get regular massages, you will feel less sore after working out.

In addition, if your fitness routine gets interrupted by a muscle strain or other injury, massage can help you recover faster so you can get back out there. 

Relieves Stress

Stress causes a number of changes in the body that may increase your risk for heart disease. It causes your body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline, which temporarily increases your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. It’s normal to experience some stress, but when it happens frequently or lasts for a long time, these changes in the body can begin to take a toll.

Luckily, massage has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety. One reason for this is that massage increases the production of endorphins, which are the body’s “feel-good” hormones. This helps regulate your mood and control your body’s responses so you’re better equipped to handle stress.

Choose an RMT

While getting a massage from a loved one or at a spa can be very beneficial, to get the most out of a massage, you should visit a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). They have the training and experience to provide a variety of different styles of massage, and can create a treatment plan that is designed specifically for your needs.

Bloating

Natural Remedies for Gas and Bloating

Gas and bloating remedies

Gas and bloating are completely normal. As your digestive system breaks down food, the gas produced can build up in your intestines, causing abdominal bloating and gas pains. If you experience this frequently, it may be caused by your diet, simply swallowing air while you eat or drink, or a condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Whatever the reason, there are several natural remedies that can help.

Foods to Relieve Bloating

Ginger

Ginger can help with a variety of stomach issues, from loss of appetite to constipation, bloating, and indigestion. One reason ginger can help is that it aids digestion by stimulating the production of saliva, bile, and other digestive compounds.

There are many ways to add ginger to your diet. Here are some examples:

  • Take ginger supplement capsules
  • Add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger to 1 teaspoon of lime juice, and take the mixture after eating.
  • Boil some ginger or use fresh ginger powder to make a tea.

Peppermint

Peppermint can soothe the intestines, reduce bloating, and relieve abdominal pain. There are studies that show taking peppermint oil capsules are effective at reducing the symptoms of IBS. Peppermint teas may also help. The soothing power of peppermint comes from menthol, which can soothe pain receptors and relax the muscles in your colon.

Papaya

Papaya contains papain. This is an enzyme that acts as a mild laxative and helps your body get rid of excess waste. So look for ways to fit papaya into your diet such as eating it fresh, putting it in a smoothie, or taking a papaya extract.

Foods to Avoid

You should cut back on certain foods if you’re dealing with bloating and gas pains. But while some gassy foods are obvious, others might surprise you. They include:

  • Beans are known for causing gas, but if you want to keep them in your diet, soak them in water for 12 hours before cooking.
  • Carbonated beverages.
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and bok choy.
  • Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol which are found in sugar-free chewing gum, mints, and other candies.

A Final Tip

Sometimes that bloated feeling is simply caused by swallowing air while you eat or drink. The way to avoid that issue is to eat more slowly and avoid drinking through a straw. Straws are problematic because each time you take a sip, you swallow the air that was in the upper part of the staw.

Grayhair

Why stress turns your hair gray

Why does your hair turn gray?

The idea that stress turns hair gray has been around for many years. But it was always based on anecdotal evidence. People might point to pictures showing U.S presidents before and after holding office, or refer to stories of people who got gray hair practically overnight after being through a traumatic experience. But no one really knew how stress affects your hair colour, and many scientists were skeptical that there was even a connection.

But recent research has revealed how it happens. Scientists put black-haired lab rats through stress tests which caused them to start sprouting gray hairs within a few days. The scientists were then able to identify the mechanism behind how it happens.

Age-related Graying

First, here is a little background on why your hair can turn gray as you age.

Normally, your hair follicles use stem cells to produce colour. That’s because stem cells can be converted into pigment-producing cells. However, your body can’t replenish stem cells so the supply gets used up as you age. When those stem cells are finally depleted, your hair loses its colour.

The Stress Connection

It turns out that stress speeds up that process. When you’re feeling stressed, it causes a release of stress hormones that are meant to prepare you to deal with threats. Those hormones include norepinephrine, which boosts your heart rate, increases blood flow to muscles, and acts as a neurotransmitter to increase your alertness and reaction time.

However, the new study revealed how this chemical also affects your hair follicles. The researchers found it causes the hair follicles to go into overdrive, and to quickly use up a flood of stem cells, depleting the supply and causing premature gray hair.

Dealing with Stress

So while your hair turns gray as a normal part of the ageing process, you can take some measures to avoid stress-induced graying.

It’s also important to keep in mind that gray hair is only one of the many effects of frequent or prolonged stress. For example, the stress hormones your body releases can also impact your blood pressure and heart health. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about stress management. Some techniques for reducing stress include, aerobic exercises, breathing exercises, talking to a close friend, and yoga.

If you’re ready to get advice or professional help for stress management, contact your healthcare provider or try out our Mental Health Program.

woman testing blood sugar

How to Manage Your Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, better known as simply “diabetes”, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The disease comes in several forms but the two most common are diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your pancreas. Type 2 occurs when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in your blood.

Simple Ways to Manage Your Diabetes

One factor that differentiates diabetes from many other diseases is how extensively it can be controlled through lifestyle adjustments. When you’re living with diabetes, you have the real power to minimize its impact. Even small changes can make serious improvements to your quality of life.

Since the disease is affected by many different aspects of your lifestyle, there are a lot of options when it comes to managing diabetes. It’s always a good idea to learn what those options are so you can find the ones that work best for you.

Improve Your Eating Habits

It should go without saying that an important part of diabetes management is your diet. If you haven’t already started, you should create a healthy eating plan with the help of a nutritionist or other health care provider, and then try your best to stick to it. The plan should include recommendations on portion sizes as well as what types of food to eat.

Here are some quick tips to remember: 

  • Use meal planning to ensure all your meals have a good balance of starches, proteins and fats. 
  • Go for fruits, vegetables and whole grains as much as possible, as these low-carb foods provide fibre to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda and juices have a lot of empty calories, and can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. Making a habit of drinking more water can help you avoid them.

Get More Exercise

Exercise helps control diabetes in a number of ways. It lowers your blood sugar, decreases your body’s resistance to insulin, and improves heart health. It can also help you lose weight, improve your circulation, lower the risk of many diabetes-related issues.

Whether it’s aerobics or strength training, any physical activity can help. The most important part is discussing your exercise plan with a health care provider and making it part of your regular schedule. 

Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Dehydration can impact your blood sugar levels, so make sure you drink lots of water while exercising.
  • Keep a close eye on your blood sugar when starting a new exercise plan. If the activity or intensity level is new to you, it can sometimes lower your blood sugar the following day.
  • Take care of your feet. If you’ve been dealing with circulation issues, you may be at risk of foot injuries like ulcers. Proper footwear like custom orthotics can help you protect your feet while exercising.
  • Quitting smoking makes exercising easier, and is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

 Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar testing is an essential part of managing diabetes. Not only will it help guide your treatment, but it also helps ensure you stay within safe limits. Some of the benefits it offers include:

  • Helps you judge how well you’re meeting your goals
  • Helps you see how exercise and eating habits affect your blood glucose levels
  • Lets you know when your levels are too high or too low

Use Stress Management Techniques

Stress affects blood sugar in several ways. For one, it triggers a hormone response in your body that can raise blood sugar levels. On top of that, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you might find it hard to stick to your diabetes management plan.

Here are some quick tips to help you cope with stress:

  • Start monitoring and recording your mood when you check your blood sugar levels. This can help you see the impact stress is having on you. If you notice a pattern, it can help you identify the triggers for your stress, so you can manage it in the future.
  • Get some help learning relaxation techniques. Health care providers can teach you about the different methods and help you find the ones that work best for you.

Get Educated

Diabetes treatment and management can be complicated. It involves a lot of planning around many different aspects of your life. This is why diabetes education programs can be very useful. They can help you understand exactly how the disease impacts you, and the best ways for you to minimize those impacts.

Remember: You Have The Power

Making changes to your lifestyle can take some real effort. When you have a long-standing bad habit, it can be hard to break the cycle. If you take the steps to manage your diabetes early on, eventually you will begin seeing improvements to your health, which can be a great motivator.

Remember that you have the power to control your diabetes. By sticking with your diabetes management plan, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start enjoying better health and quality of life.

As a final note, be sure to speak to your doctor for advice if you need help with diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in children, or if you develop any diabetes complications.

varicoseveins

How to get rid of varicose veins

Varicose Veins – More than Just Unsightly

Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic issue. For many people, varicose veins are the source of pain, skin damage, and serious health complications.

Whether you are dealing with painful veins, or just want to prevent these issues before they occur, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s some info on what causes varicose veins and how to avoid them.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. Any vein near the skin can become varicosed, but it most often affects leg veins. One reason for that is the veins in your lower body have to fight gravity to make blood flow back up to your heart.

Your circulatory system has many one-way valves that keep blood flowing in the proper direction. When there’s an issue with those valves, it can allow blood to flow the wrong way down your leg veins. The blood then begins pooling in the veins causing enlargement and swelling.

According to the Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery, 20% of adults have varicose veins. The issue often begins spontaneously, but there are a number of risk factors that determine how likely it is to happen to you. They include:

  • Ageing: Normal wear and tear increases your risk as you get older
  • Gender: Women are at a higher risk than men due to hormonal differences
  • Genetics: A family history of varicose veins increases your risk
  • Being overweight: Increases your risk by adding pressure on your veins
  • Sitting or standing for long periods: Increases chances by reducing blood flow
  • Pregnancy: Increases your risk through hormones and increased volume of blood

Complications

When varicose veins are allowed to progress unchecked, they can become much worse. In some cases, they can lead to serious issues. The possible complications include:

Chronic pain

Varicose veins can cause chronic pain and discomfort, and it can range from mild to severe. The pain is sometimes described as localized pain, an ache, a feeling of heaviness, itchiness, or a burning sensation.

Bleeding

Varicose veins near the surface of the skin will sometimes burst and bleed. However, it usually only causes minor bleeding.

Blood clots

Typically, it’s only the veins near the surface of the skin that become varicosed. That’s why they can lead to superficial blood clots (also known as superficial thrombophlebitis). While they’re not as dangerous as blood clots that form in deeper veins, they can still cause leg swelling, pain, redness, and tenderness

In severe cases, clots can form in deeper veins—also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). That type of clot can be life-threatening as there’s a chance it could travel from your leg to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. 

Ulcers

Varicose veins can lead to ulcers on the lower leg. This is because the blood that pools in the veins will gradually build pressure on the skin and create an open sore. These wounds most often appear around the ankle or on the side of the lower leg. They are slow to heal and have a tendency to return.

If you think you have an ulcer, you should see a doctor. Without proper treatment, these ulcers can grow larger and lead to other issues in your legs.

Prevention and Treatment

Here are a few tips to help you avoid some of the problems that varicose veins can bring. These methods can work for both preventing and helping to heal varicose veins. 

Compression socks and stockings 

Compression socks and stockings are considered one of the best initial treatments for varicose veins. They provide pressure that improves the flow of blood back up to your heart, reduces swelling, relieves symptoms, and reduces the risk for complications. You can also get compression socks and stockings custom made to ensure they provide the perfect amount of pressure in the specific areas that it’s needed.

Exercise

Getting more exercise can help in a number of ways:

  1. Aerobic exercise will improve your cardiovascular health, improving blood flow.
  2. Exercises that strengthen your leg muscles will make those muscles more efficient at moving blood.
  3. Regular exercise will help you achieve a healthier weight which takes the pressure off your veins and further reduces your risk. 

Simple tips

Here are some final tips that are easy to practice. Although they are simple, they help you reduce your risks for varicose veins. 

  • Avoid sitting or standing still for long periods. Try to break up those periods by taking short breaks to change position.
  • Elevate your legs when possible to improve blood flow.
  • Avoid high heels as they limit the action of a leg muscle that pumps blood back towards the heart.
woman getting better sleep

How to get a better sleep at night

If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Whether it’s that you don’t feel sleepy at night, you have trouble staying asleep, or you don’t feel rested in the morning, sleep problems are a common issue.

Luckily, there are many simple measures you can take to improve your sleeping habits and get better quality sleep.

 

Set a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It

Your body tries to anticipate when you’re going to sleep and begins the process as your bedtime approaches. For example, it releases melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Having an irregular sleep schedule means you won’t be able to take full advantage of these processes. So try to keep to your regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends.

Exercise Regularly

Vigorous exercise is best, but any physical activity can help you use up energy during the day so you can rest better at night.

Do Something Relaxing Before Bed

Find a calming activity that you can add to your bedtime routine. For example,  reading, listening to relaxing music, meditating, practicing gentle yoga or taking a bath.

Avoid Taking Naps, Especially in the Afternoon

A nice nap may feel refreshing, but studies show that daytime napping leads to worse nighttime sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you should save your sleep for bedtime. 

Use The Right Mattress and Pillow

If you’ve had your mattress for too long, it might not be providing proper support, so check if it’s time for a replacement. Most good quality mattresses have a life expectancy of about 10 years.

There are a variety of specially-designed pillows that may help you sleep better, such as cervical neck pillows designed to keep your head and neck properly positioned.  

Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink

While you probably know to avoid caffeine right before bed, it might surprise you that research shows that drinking coffee up to six hours before bed can impact your sleep.

You should also avoid eating large meals for 2-3 hours before bed, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes, as they can also disrupt sleep.

Avoid Bright Light Before Bed

Being exposed to bright light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. It throws your internal clock (also known as the circadian rhythm) out of whack.  So looking at the bright screen of a TV, computer, or phone before bed will make it harder for you to fall asleep.

If you have trouble avoiding those electronics before bed, there are screen dimmer apps that can help. They can automatically adjust your phone or computer screen, so that as your bedtime approaches, the light gets gradually shifted towards the red end of the spectrum. This helps minimize the effects on your sleep because red light is the least disruptive to your internal clock.

Get More Bright Light During the Day

Being exposed to bright light during the day can help your internal clock stay in sync, which will help you feel more energized during the day and sleep better at night.

Put it into Practice

These sleeping tips should give you some options when it comes to improving your sleep habits. So try a few of them out to find what works best for you and enjoy a good night’s sleep!