Sleep is one of the major stepping-stones, or "foundation blocks", when it comes to rebuilding your health from the ground up or building a happy, healthy lifestyle. As most of you know, getting a good nights rest aids in numerous health matters including memory amelioration, recovery time, longevity, mood, and your body's inflammation levels... and that's just the start! However, the health benefits are plentiful and spoken of so often, that this article will focus on sleep in a couple of different ways; the first of which is a little something called biphasic sleep, and if you keep reading, I'll give you a few helpful hints on how to get a better nights rest as well.

I think most of us can agree that recommended eight hours of sleep per night is sufficient for the majority of people, but what I am about to tell you next goes against common beliefs surrounding sleep. Although eight hours is the ideal, it doesn't necessarily need to be the "solid" eight hours that our modern society believes to be crucial. In fact, it may be more appropriate for our body's needs to have what's called "biphasic sleep". Biphasic sleep is defined as two parts/segments of sleep. In fact, historically speaking, biphasic sleep was extremely common, if not the norm. People used to sleep in two four-hour segments, the first of which was called "first sleep" or "deep sleep" and the second, "second sleep" or "morning sleep". The two segments were separated by at least an hour of wakefulness and slight activity including meditating, prayer or reading by candlelight.

Clinicians are currently aiming to have people with sleeping difficulties to change the way they think about sleep. In order to reduce the pressure and anxiety so many people feel when waking in the middle of the night, clinicians have been enforcing the truth: it is absolutely normal to awake in the middle of the night. They are encouraging people to embrace this break in their sleep instead of angrily tossing and turning trying to get back to sleep. I welcome you all to give biphasic sleep a chance, and see for yourself what kind of impact it has on your ability and willingness to rise and shine at the sound of your alarm clock. Whether you try it out or not, everyone needs a little help getting into the first phase of sleep every now and then, so on that note, here are a few tips to get the most out of your nightly Zs.

1. One of the most useful tips I've encountered for a good night's sleep is complete darkness - this means blocking ALL light from your room. This includes turning your cell phone off, computer screen off, turning your alarm clock around and covering the light from under the door. Also, blackout shades are a helpful investment.

2. Leave the computer and TV alone before bed as the light from the screens lessens your ability to produce melatonin. Instead of watching a show or surfing the net before bed, try reading a book - it's relaxing and will tire you out faster, by engaging your brain, than any late night television. Bright lights, whether from the sun or a computer or TV screen is a signal for wakefulness.

3. Take the time to develop a routine for yourself. A ritual, if you will, before bed - something relaxing. It's up to you what that ritual entails, just ensure that it is consistent. This will help your body develop a rhythm. This ritual can include anything from reading to taking a bath to relaxing by candlelight. Go to bed and rise at the same times every day.

4. Using a foam roller or getting a massage before bed can also be quite beneficial. Unfortunately, for most of us, a personal massage every night is out of the question. Thankfully, for us less fortunate folk, a foam roller works just as well! Although a tad uncomfortable in the moment, ten minutes of foam rolling, before bed can release tension (both physical and mental). It will create a more peaceful mind and body and make drifting off into a more satisfying sleep more attainable.

5. This next one may not be for everyone, but meditation - guided or non - can be an excellent way of helping you clear your mind and prepare yourself for rest. There are many podcasts and CDs that can help you with guided meditation if you are not accustomed to it. There are a few that come highly recommended.

These are tips and tricks that I have found useful on my quest for a sound sleep. Although not all of these will appeal to every one of you, it won't hurt to try them out and figure out what works for you. Guard your sleep well.

Dr Groulx has a unique skill set in that his health care career began as a paramedic and progressed to include brief careers in a Canadian Coast Guard Search & Rescue Unit and as a Registered Nurse in Ottawa. Eventually he graduated from the very esteemed Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dr Groulx has been a Chiropractor in Ottawa since 2004. Dr Paul Groulx continues to deepen his knowledge and skill via ongoing continuing education seminars.
Dr Groulx has been with his wife Beth since 1995 and has been blessed with two beautiful girls. He loves to pilot small aircraft.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Groulx has been a health care professional for more than 20 years. In the spring of 2011, Dr Groulx had a profound experience with personal illness that deepened his perspective as a doctor. In the early morning of April 26th, 2011 Dr Groulx was rushed to an Ottawa hospital by ambulance with what was soon diagnosed as acute bacterial meningitis. Within hours he had lost most of his hearing, vision and motor control. His kidneys were on the brink of failure and he suffered some degree of paralysis. Not only was it nearly fatal but he was told that IF he survived he would likely have permanent neurological impairments that could very well end his career.

"Today I am alive, well and stronger and healthier than ever!"

His recovery was deemed miraculous my most of his physicians and surgeons. One of his physicians asked him, "What in the world did you do to recover so quickly and so fully?" First and foremost he attributes his survival and recovery to God's grace. Secondly he believes that ongoing chiropractic care in addition to radical changes in his diet, exercise and mental outlook had an enormous impact on his recovery.

As far as chiropractors go, Dr Groulx has a unique skill set in that his health care career began as a paramedic and progressed to include brief careers in the Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue Unit and as a Registered Nurse in Ottawa. Eventually he graduated from the very esteemed Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dr Groulx has been practicing chiropractic in Ottawa for the last eight years. Despite having graduated from chiropractic eight years ago, he still continues to deepen his knowledge and skill via ongoing continuing education seminars.
Dr Groulx has made it his mission to include everything he has learned in his own recovery as part of your care plan. "What I know, I will teach you - if it worked for me, it will work for you - looking forward to meeting you."