It’s hard to feel your best when you don’t get enough quality sleep. But the problem doesn’t stop there — it’s harder for your body to function properly too. In fact, chronic sleep deprivation can increase your chances of numerous health problems, such as:
Worse yet, it even puts you at higher risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.
Dr. Terry L. Franklin takes a functional medicine approach to restoring his patients’ quality of sleep. That means getting to the bottom of your lack of sleep by evaluating your physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being.
When you’re looking for a better night’s sleep, Dr. Franklin suggests starting with these 10 functional medicine strategies.
The most obvious place to start is avoiding stimulants. But did you know that means more than skipping an afternoon cup of coffee? Stimulants can take many unassuming forms, from alcohol to medications and over-the-counter drugs. Even aerobic exercise can have a stimulating effect.
Nothing can make sleep harder to reach than stress, tension, and anxiety. Dr. Franklin recommends trying to leave anything that can increase these feelings at the bedroom door and avoiding anxiety-provoking activities close to your bedtime.
Examples of things that increase anxiety include watching the news, paying bills, checking finances, and reading exciting materials.
If you want great sleep, set a schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends. Plan to spend between 8.5 and 9 hours in bed, and plan your bed and wake times accordingly.
Once you put this schedule in place, stay with it. Following the same sleep/wake routine each day trains your biological clock so you can get the zzz’s you need.
Your sleep schedule sets the foundation for your nightly routine, but you also need a plan to execute it. Start prepping for bed approximately 30 minutes before bedtime. Stop eating at least three hours in advance, and avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of liquid before climbing into bed.
Have you ever been so relaxed you could barely keep your eyes open? Try to channel that in your sleep space.
Maybe take a hot and relaxing aromatherapy bath to ease tension, lower stress hormones, and induce sleep. Or simply turn down the lights in your bedroom and bathroom for 15 minutes before bedtime to start signaling your brain that it’s time to sleep.
When it comes to sleeping, you should have a space you find irresistible, which means the right bedding. Think about how you sleep most comfortably — are you a side sleeper? Back sleeper? Do you have physical pain in your hip or shoulder?
These factors play a role in your sleep quality because you need proper support to keep you comfortable, like a pillow between your knees to align your back and shoulders while you sleep. Otherwise, you end up tossing, turning, or waking up in pain.
Did you know there’s an ideal temperature for sleeping? While it can vary by a few degrees from person to person, you can generally set your thermostat between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit for the best sleep.
Your body temperature starts to drop a few hours before sleep, reaching its lowest point early in the morning before gradually warming up again.
Keeping your environment at a lower temperature supports your internal thermostat and helps avoid discomfort and restlessness while you sleep.
Are you struggling to quiet your mind at bedtime? Add relaxation techniques to your day or sleep plan. These exercises could include some gentle yoga poses or stress-relief exercises like deep breathing. Try writing down whatever is weighing on you to clear your mind of worry.
For ongoing concerns, schedule time to address them or talk to Dr. Franklin for personalized suggestions on managing mental and emotional health issues.
Sometimes that elusive night’s sleep has a medical connection, like hormone or vitamin imbalances. After assessing your overall health, Dr. Franklin could suggest several treatments to restore or improve your sleep quality, ranging from hormone replacement therapy to vitamin injections and supplementation.
Finally, if you continue struggling to get quality sleep, it’s worth considering lifestyle education.
As an experienced primary care and functional medicine physician, Dr. Franklin can help you identify specific areas in your life that could contribute to health issues and poor sleep. Then he works closely with you to create a strategy to make changes in your lifestyle so you live the healthiest life possible.
Are you ready to improve your sleep? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Franklin in Monterey, California, by calling 831-647-3190 today.