Sleep is Very Important for Your Health
We often underestimate the importance of sleep and the benefits it brings. We live in a fast-paced world where something is always going on 24-hours a day, and sleep is often overlooked.
In one generation we have gone from a few TV channels that went off the air at 11 p.m. to hundreds of channels on 24 hours a day. The internet, smartphones, tablets, and social media are constantly fighting for our attention. Today, most people have a TV in their bedroom and go to bed with their phones next to them.
Chiropractors know that there are 6 foundational pillars to good health: sleep, exercise, nutrition, good posture, psychological well-being, and a properly functioning nervous system. When you lose any of these it can result in accelerated loss of health, vitality, and energy, which can lead to fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, illness, and a host of other unhealthy conditions.
Benefits of Sleep
Sleep is where our bodies and organs are restored and prepared to take on the next day. Want to lose weight? Sleep helps control your appetite by regulating your leptin and ghrelin hormone levels. Want a healthy immune system? Get some sleep.
There are different stages of sleep, our bodies experience the deepest and most restorative sleep in the REM stage.
- Blood pressure drops
- Blood supply to our muscles is increased
- Energy is restored
- Hormones, such as growth hormones to help growth and development, are released
- Organs recharge
- Recover from exercise occurs
- Tissue growth and repair happens
REM sleep occurs about every 90 minutes and will get progressively longer throughout the night. REM sleep is where we experience dreams. It also provides energy to the brain, the body, and supports our performance throughout the day.
What Happens When We Don't Get Enough Sleep?
Lack of sleep is a major problem for many people. There are a myriad of problems that can result from sleep deprivation, including many health issues.
- Weight gain. USA Today released a report saying that sleep-deprived people typically consume 300 more calories a day than when well-rested individuals. The body will crave more sugars and carbs to try to increase energy levels.
- Automobile accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries occur each year as the result of drowsiness.
- Memory difficulties.
- Difficulty making simple decisions.
- Disruption of the circadian rhythm at the cellular level.
- Increased risk of diabetes due to higher blood sugar levels.
- Accelerated aging.
- Increased risk of cancer.
- High blood pressure and hypertension.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that lack of sleep can further exacerbate many chronic and serious diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis (MS), kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even behavioral problems in children.
- Clumsiness and poor motor control.
- Weakened immune system.
- Slower healing from injuries or diseases.
- Hypersensitivity and irritability.
- Depression or anxiety.
Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
- Chiropractic Adjustments help you fall to sleep quicker and have a more restful, deeper sleep.
- Exercise helps you sleep better, have more energy, and control your weight better. It is recommended to avoid exercising right before going to bed since a raised heart rate can interfere with falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Don't eat late at night. Your organs need to recover at night, not process food.
- Avoid watching TV, using a computer, smartphone, or video games for at least an hour before going to bed.
- Develop healthy sleep routines. This includes going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Find a way to wind down before bed that works for you. It could include meditation, a cup of herbal tea, reading, or brushing your teeth.
- Try to be asleep by 11 p.m. since your body does most of its recovery and recharging between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. This includes recharging your adrenal glands.
- Get a mattress that is supportive and comfortable.
- Get a pillow that will properly support your neck whether you sleep on your side or back.
- Create a proper sleeping environment.
- Dark room
- Cool temperature: 60 - 68º is optimum
- Avoid blue lights because they suppress melatonin
- No TV
3 Reasons People Have Trouble Falling Asleep
- Physical. It is hard to fall asleep while you are in pain. Sciatica will often keep people awake. Other problems include snoring, sleep apnea, or continually waking up to go to the bathroom.
- Chemical. Caffeine, spicy foods, and medications can often disrupt your sleep. Some people can have their sleep disturbed by electromagnetic fields from electronic devices, or suffer from disease or hormone imbalance.
- Mental. Stress is a major hindrance to relaxing and falling asleep. Other problems include depression, changing sleep schedules, family issues, financial worries, over-stimulation, or even watching TV.
Chiropractic Adjustments Can Help You Sleep Better.
Sleep is an important aspect of your health and should not be overlooked. Not only does the lack of sleep affect your ability to function, but can lead directly to health problems. The vast majority of sleep problems can be traced to the various stresses you are facing, whether they are physical, mental, or chemical. Many of these conditions can be treated by chiropractic adjustments. For example, adjustments to the C1 through C3 vertebrae of the cervical spine (neck) will increase the nerve supply to your limbic system helping you manage your stress, anxiety, or depression. The limbic system is responsible for emotions, long-term memory, motivation, and behavior. Chiropractic adjustments restore nerve supply to your muscles which in turn will reduce muscle spasms and tension.
Dr. Steve Silverston is dedicated to helping you improve your health. If you are having sleep issues, he can find and correct subluxations in your spine as well as give you specific advice on diet, exercise, and creating a proper sleep environment. Call World Class Chiropractic at (410) 461-3435 to set an appointment or use our appointment form. If any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, please recommend this article to them.