It’s a universal truth—everyone would like to sleep better.

So what are the essential factors in getting better sleep?

Obviously, there are many habits we can adapt to aid in a better night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests developing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading before bed, to slowly ease the mind and body into a calmed state, making for easier an easier time drifting off.

Additionally things like quitting smoking, limiting caffeinated beverages and putting away the electronics before bed can all result in more restful sleep.

But what if, after all of this, you still find it difficult to drift off?

For many us, work, stress or external stimuli aren’t the only factors keeping us up at night—according to a study appearing in the Journal of Sleep Research, as many as 53% of chronic pain suffers are also potential or fully-diagnosed insomniacs.

Although millions of people suffer from chronic spinal pain (resulting in poor sleep), the good news is there are plenty of things you can do!

Before you head to bed, consider doing the following:

  • Develop a regular exercise routine with a specific focus on core exercises. Not only will this increase your overall physical and mental health, but it will also provide the essential stabilization your spine needs. This means your spine will be less likely to fall out of line and retain its ideal form, which translates into less pinching and aching, making for a better night’s sleep!
  • Try Yoga before bed. Yoga has been proven to relax the muscles and release core tension. Another significant advantage of doing yoga before bedtime lies in its ability to align the spine. Starting out with a positive alignment of the spine ensures you start off right and can work to eliminate the chance of exasperating a misalignment—leaving you tossing and turning instead of restfully sleeping.

If these two tips don’t seem to be helping as much as you’d like, or you feel as if you could do something more, consider these changes for more quality rest:

  • Consider a new mattress. According to the UK Sleep Council, if you find that you are waking with aches and pains that begin to disappear of the course of the day or if you feel you were sleeping better a year ago, it is probably time for a new mattress.
  • When purchasing a new mattress, avoid an overly soft one. While these can feel comfortable at first, they can easily over-contour to your body, providing little to no support in places essential for correct spinal alignment.
  • If you experience neck pain, opt for a firmer pillow. When the weight of a person’s head rests on a pillow night after night, soft spots begin to develop. These spots allow the neck to fall into misalignment and can result in chronic neck pain.
  • Pay attention to your posture at work. Many people who spend their days at a desk exhibit poor posture, which manifests itself in poor spinal alignment. Try sitting on a yoga ball or adopting a standing desk, both of which have been proven to aid in achieving better posture over time.

While many people suffer chronic neck/back pain and the resulting insomnia, there are many, many ways to get a better night’s sleep. With a few simple changes, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be enjoying the level of restful, comfortable sleep we’d all like to experience more frequently.

And remember, if you’re experiencing sleep problems, visiting your Doctor of Chiropractic is a great first step. Just a few short sessions can jumpstart your way to a better nights sleep!