Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER!


Poor sleep quality is a very common complaint I hear from patients in my clinic.  It’s also a multi-faceted problem that doesn’t have one solution.  Often, I find myself offering various solutions for sleeping to try to create the ideal environment for a peaceful sleep. rest.

To understand just how much of a problem sleep is we can look at the results of a StatsCan study that found, “43% of men and 55% of women aged 18 to 64 reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep “sometimes/most of the time/all of the time.”

Why Quality Of Sleep Matters

The Canadian Health Measures Survey showed that “Short sleeping duration’s and poor sleep quality are prevalent among Canadian adults.  About one-third sleep fewer hours per night than recommended for optimal physical and mental health.  This group also experiences poor sleep quality more frequently than do those who sleep the recommended number of hours.(1)

According to these statistics it is evident that there is a high percentage of people reporting sleeping problems.

Chronic sleep problems can have detrimental health consequences as well.  Poor sleep quality and duration is “…associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, death from all causes, depression, irritability and reduced well-being…” (2)

How Many Hours Of  A Peaceful Sleep Do You Need?

For adults aged 18 to 64 are recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  While seniors aged 65 or older should get 7 to 8 hours. (3)

Dr. Nenos talks about how many hours of sleep you actually need on Hamilton Life

What Are The Best Sleeping Positions?

Most people fall into three general positions for sleeping, back, side, and stomach.  While there are numerous arguments to be made on which is best, it comes down to what allows your spine to maintain a neutral position that is as straight as possible with little to no tilts and bends. Ensuring you have the right pillow is also essential for a painfree and peaceful sleep. Click here to take the pillow test then watch this video on how to find the right pillow.

Proper sleeping positions - Dr. Nenos on Hamilton Life

In order to address the issue, it’s important to understand the cause.  This differs for many people, however, rather than diving into the complexity of the problem, I’d like to offer the reader the following possible solutions for a peaceful sleep based on my experience.

1. Limit Your Exposure To Artificial Light At Night

Light alerts the body that it is daytime so dimming or as I do in my house, shutting off all the lights in the house a few hours before bedtime, allows me to get sleepy and fall asleep faster.  Keeping your bedroom dark may also help, just make sure the area around your bed is safe from obstacles in case you do wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom.  This is especially important for seniors who are at risk of falls.

2. Create A Regular Sleeping Schedule

Stick to a regular schedule that has you going to bed at the same time every night as well as waking up at the same time in the morning (even on weekends).  A routine for sleeping may be the momentum you need to achieving good night’s rest.

3. Turn The TV Off A Few Hours Before Bedtime

Our brains are not programmed to process motion picture for extended periods of time. Quiet your brain by reducing TV exposure before heading to bed.

4. Limit Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a stimulant and avoiding may decrease the likelihood of being alert while lying in bed.

5. No Naps Close To Bed Time

After travelling around Europe one summer I noticed some Europeans enjoy a nice “siesta” which is an afternoon rest or nap, especially one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate. However, these naps are taken early in the afternoon which allows you have ample time to fall asleep later in the evening. Be sure to avoid taking a nap late in the afternoon as it may cause you to either fall asleep much later than anticipated or worse, not sleep at all.

6. Keep The Bedroom Cooler Than Usual

Turn down the thermostat a few degrees at night to allow your body to fall into a state of hibernation. It works for bears so it’s worth a try.

7. Draw Up A Warm Bath

A warm bath or shower helps to soothe and relax the body and prepare it for bed.

Note: a cold shower has the complete opposite effect in case you feel drowsy and sleepy during the day.

8. Avoid Using Technology In Bed

There are several reasons for this. One being that the blue light emitted from our mobile devices strains our eyes and could cause sleep disturbances. Some tech companies have even incorporated a “night shift” mode to allow your eyes to adapt to warmer colours.

9. Keep Mobile Phones And Computers Away From Your Bed

Although the jury is still out on this factor, your cell phone and computer transmit signals even when you’re not using them. Avoid the problem of radio frequencies altogether by leaving your electronic devices in the living room, far away from where you sleep.

10. See A Chiropractor!

One of the most common responses I get from patients after starting Chiropractic care is that they report better sleep.  This may due to patients having sleep disturbances as a result of spinal related problems.  Since many find relief while addressing their back problems, it may explain why a significant number of those patients report better sleep as an unintended, but much appreciated, side benefit of being under Chiropractic care.

Be sure to check with your health practitioner first before attempting any of these suggestions.

Also, do you find that it’s a struggle to get the kids asleep or better yet stay asleep?Click here to read, Why Do We Make Young Children Sleep Alone?

Sweet dreams!


1. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2017009/article/54857-eng.htm
2. Institute of Medicine Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. Colten HR, Altevogt BM, eds. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2006.
3. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: Final report. Sleep Health 2015; 1: 233-43.

The Healthiest Sleep Postures

sleep well

How do you sleep? On your back? Belly? Or do you find you sleep well on your side? Everyone has their favorite sleeping position(s). It may change from time to time, however, if you’re an expecting mother or have specific health problems, the way you sleep may be limited.

In these cases, sleeping in the right posture can make the difference in how you feel when you wake up. Alternatively, sleeping in the wrong position can aggravate underlying problems like back or neck pain. Or even obstruct the airways to your lungs, leading to challenges like obstructive sleep apnea.

Most people are in bed 7-8 hours a night. It’s important to minimize postural stress on your body so that you can achieve quality sleep and wake up feeling good for the new day!

Here are some of the best sleeping postures you should try out to minimize stress on your body regardless if you suffer from a condition or not.

Side Sleeping

By far, this is the most common sleep position adopted by most people. A fetal or side sleeping position is great, especially on your left side if you’re expectant. It helps improve air flow in your body. Besides, it prevents you from pressing your uterus against the liver.

This position is also ideal for snorers. However, if you are curled up too tightly in this position it may restrict breathing in your diaphragm and may result in feeling a bit sore in the morning. Especially if you have spinal issues or arthritis.

To prevent these woes, be mindful of your body position when you lay down to sleep at night.

While laying on your side, only slightly bend your knees and try placing a pillow between them to help reduce stress on your pelvis and low back. Avoid tucking your chin onto your chest.

If you like sleeping on your front or find yourself starting your night on your side and waking up on your stomach, try placing a large or body pillow in front of your body. This will help keep you on your side and restrict you from rolling forwards onto your tummy.

side sleeper
Keep these things in mind when side sleeping:
  1. Use a pillow to support the neck and head. Check out this video on how to choose the right pillow when side sleeping.
  2. Place your knees slightly bent, up to 90 degrees, and place a pillow between your knees. You can fill in the extra space with a pillow to get additional support.

Back Sleeping

Sleeping on your back is traditionally considered one of the best sleeping positions for a healthy back. It evenly distributes your body weight and minimizes pressure on pain points. All while at the same time ensuring proper alignment of the neck, head, and spine.

Stick to using one pillow when sleeping on your back. To get additional support, you can place a small pillow under your knees. It helps maintain the natural curve of the spine.

back sleeper
If you are adopting this type of sleeping position, you should:
  1. Lie flat on your back while facing the ceiling. Caution you should not twist your head sideways. This may result in the joints in your neck being irritated and pain the next day.
  2. Use one small or thin pillow to support both the head and neck. Avoid using more than one pillow as this will tilt your head forward and can irritate your neck muscles and spinal discs.
  3. Position a small or thin pillow underneath your knees.
  4. For a more enjoyable night, you can fill the remaining space between the mattress and your body with additional pillows.

sleeping on your stomach

The BIG ‘No-no’ – Sleeping on Your Stomach!

Sleeping on your stomach is an ideal position for those who snore; but it comes with its risks. Although most adults like sleeping in this position, it can often lead to both neck and back pain.

Keeping your spine in a neutral position while relaxing in this position is hard; hence, explaining why it is not a recommended sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach results in your head being rotated for hours which puts pressure on your joints and strains muscles, which can result in numbness and tingling, irritated nerves, and pain. The sleeping position is quite irritating, and your doctor would most likely agree that it’s a BIG “No-No”!

Pillow Talk: Is your pillow causing your pain?

How To Find The Right Pillow

Back Sleepers:

Your cervical “C” curve in your neck is small. When sleeping on your back, you can roll up a hand towel, t-shirt, use a small cervical support roll, or a thin pillow and fold up the edge into your cervical curve for support.

Side Sleepers:

If you are a side sleeper, pillow use is recommended. A common frustration amongst many is buying too many pillows that were never comfortable and ending up with a pile of eight uncomfortable but now decorative pillows on the guest bed and a sore neck for themselves every morning. The tricky part is there is no perfect pillow for everyone. Everybody has a different shoulder to neck measurement. We encourage to use the “pillow test” to find the right pillow for you.

Pillow Test

Pillow Test

Stand with one shoulder against the wall. Place the pillow between the wall and your neck. Completely relax your neck and shoulders allowing your head to fall gently into the pillow against the wall.

Do not push your head into the pillow, simply let gravity take its course and rest against it. Your head should not be tilted. There should only be a lateral shift in your neck of two to three inches. If there is a larger shift, than the spine is being stressed and this isn’t the pillow for you. If you find that there is no lateral movement of your head, the pillow is too thick and can cause awkward postural stress on the spine as well.

Tonight, I wish you the best sleep posture and all it brings; quality, uninterrupted sleep and a refreshed great start to tomorrow!

For further reading, click here to view, “Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER!”