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Column For Better Quality Sleep


There are many reports of the connection of back pain and poor sleep, and it is understood that due to poor sleep, the risk of developing back pain or even back pain getting worse is higher.

On the other hand, there aren’t any reports of poor sleep being caused by back pain. Nonetheless, due to the low quality or reduced length of sleep, your body’s recovery function is affected, as well as your immune system.

Similar to a machine that is moving constantly causing it to break down faster, humans need to rest and have proper nutrition or else their bodies will break down faster.
The reduction of recovery function can be thought of as not letting your intervertebral discs and muscles recover properly from their every day stress.
The result is thanks to poor sleeping habits and a lack of sleep, the risk of your discs aging quicker and your muscles being tense is higher.

So, in order to have a better quality sleep, it is imperative to improve the worsening cycle of your daily routine as we will outline below.

~ Bad Daily Habits ~

⚪︎ Eating unhealthy convenience store food or fast food
Eating foods full of fats, carbs, sugar and salt can cause problems in your blood

⚪︎Eating before going to bed
While you are sleeping, your body is actually working very hard on recovery of your various bodily functions, such as replacement and repair of your body’s cells. Even if you are not physically moving, your body is working and is very busy. If you introduce some food into this system of recovery, your body will enter a state of panic and work on recovery and repair of your cells ends up being pushed to the back burner in order to digest the food as this is what your body is programmed to do. Obviously, this causes your body’s recovery to be delayed.
The muscles and joints in your body are made up of various cells and they are being repaired as you sleep.
Therefore, your weakened, painful body will only be able to recover a small amount during this sleep.

⚪︎Ingesting caffeine before going to bed
The effect of caffeine depends on the person, but is usually said to last about 6 to 8 hour.
If you want to sleep at 10pm, you should not drink coffee after 2 to 4 pm, or else it will be difficult for you to fall asleep.

⚪︎Taking a hot bath
Taking a bath over 41 degrees will cause certain bodily cells to react, making it difficult to fall asleep.

⚪︎Only taking a shower in summer
Of course, many people are against taking baths in the summer time before bed, but only showering may cause your sleep to be shallow. Taking a bath at 38 degrees will lessen the effect of a hot bath and may help you sleep better.

⚪︎Using your phone before bed
Many people are glad to finally have their own private time and start looking at their phone before sleeping. The blue light being emitted by the phone’s screen ends up waking up the brain and the quality of your sleep will suffer.
If you continuously look at your phone before bed, you will end up feeling lethargic the next morning.
There are smartphones with a blue light reduction function, but social media and text messages have a strong effect on waking up your brain. We recommend not looking at your phone before going to bed.

⚪︎Drinking alcohol
There are many people who feel that drinking alcohol before going to bed will help them sleep better and drink as a habit.
The body’s ability to break down the alcohol depends on the person, but even if a person with a strong tolerance for alcohol wants to improve their sleep, we cannot recommend drinking before bed.
We won’t say it’s a bad idea for someone who has a strong tolerance to not drink at all, but alcohol will end up causing the body to want to urinate or cause the brain to wake up, which will end up in a lower quality of sleep.
When drinking, it may make you feel sleepy, but you may end up having to wake up to go to the toilet or suddenly feeling awake during the night and not enter a deep sleep state, with you ending up not having a high quality of sleep.

~ Review of things to do~

・Eat a balanced diet
Using rice and miso soup as a base, limit yourself to one main dish.
・For those who are not good at cooking or do not have time,
Use instant rice packets, instant miso soup, eat plain salad chicken, or eat a salad with at least 5 different vegetables (use sesame dressing)
These are available at supermarkets and convenience stores. We don’t recommend eating them daily however.
For those with high blood pressure, it will have less effect on your body.

・For those who eat out often (Take out included) balance what you are eating
・Do not consume caffeine after 3 pm
・Do not eat 3 hours before sleeping
・When drinking alcohol, drink water along side it. Aim to drink the same amount of water as you did alcohol.
・Work on the balance in your gut

・ Set your bath to 38 to 40 degrees and take a bath 2 hours before going to bed.
・ Try developing a habit of taking baths in summer
・ Don’t take your smartphone into the bedroom
・ Go for morning walks
・ Try to get exposure to the sun within 30 minutes of waking up
・ Turn off all the lights when you go to bed
・ Have your pet sleep in its own bed
・ If you notice anything about your bedding that makes it difficult to sleep, talk with an expert at a furniture store.
・ Do a rhythmic exercise (We recommend walking, at a speed no faster than it would make you speak like you’re out of breath)
・ Take a nap or siesta of about 15 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes

Why don’t you try taking this opportunity to improve your quality of sleep? To improve your health and improve the movement of your body, a good balanced diet and good quality sleep cannot be understated.
You still have plenty of time, so try to improve your sleep quality from today!

Originally written by the nutritionist of the ILC International Lumbago Clinic Tokyo