A night of restful, regenerating sleep is most important for reducing daily stress and ensuring our body’s optimal health. Sleep deprivation can reduce your reaction time, possibly resulting in an increased incidence of motor vehicle accidents. It can also negatively affect your memory, create problems focusing, learning and decrease your immune system. Lack of proper sleep means awakening with the body already in stress for the coming day which may cause low energy, irritability or a depressed mood.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Interestingly, descriptions of insomnia occur at least as far back as ancient Greece. The condition can occur independently or as a result of other health problems, such as psychological stress, chronic pain, heartburn, hyperthyroidism or restless leg problem to name a few. It can also be short term, lasting for days or weeks or long term, lasting more than a month.
Other causes may result from certain medications, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Working night shifts and sleep apnea can rob you of a good night’s rest. People over the age of 65 are affected more often than younger people. Females are more often affected than males. After ruling out other health problems, sleep habits may be a factor in loss of sleep.
Practicing Good Sleep Habits:
You can improve your sleep habits with a few simple life style changes. Do you maintain a consistent bedtime? Avoid daytime napping.
Do not drink any caffeine drinks just prior to going to bed and do not smoke. Remove all electronic devices from your bedroom, including televisions, computers and smart phones. A warm bath or foot washing can help to relieve stress just before retiring. Select bed linens that are absorbent and breathable. While exercise earlier in the day is beneficial, don’t exercise just before going to bed.
Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary that is without clutter. Shut out any artificial street light or noise while allowing in natural morning light to promote healthy sleep and wake cycles. Keep the room temperature comfortable, ideally a little on the cool side.
Sleep position is also important. It is best to sleep on your back, but some people tend to snore if sleeping in this position and it may wake you from sleep. The next best position is to sleep on your side with a proper pillow firm enough to support the distance between your head and shoulder. A pillow between the knees will maintain proper pelvic alignment.
The worst position is sleeping on your stomach. However, if you can only sleep in this position it is best not to use any pillow at all. Review your sleeping habits with your Chiropractor to avoid waking with a sore back.
Can Your Mattress Be the Problem?
One review of sleep found that up to 50% of people with back pain also suffer from sleep disturbances. Mattress comfort will vary from person to person. The general rule is to choose a firmer mattress than soft. If you have a back condition, your chiropractor can advise you on the best choice of mattress for you. If you develop sensitive pressure points on a firm mattress, a thin foam top cover could be added, such as memory foam. Turn your mattress over and reverse top to bottom on a regular basis rather than sleeping in the same place all the time.
Chiropractic Can Help:
Have your chiropractor check your spine for subluxations. Adjustments are proven to help reduce pain, improve nervous system function and boost immunity. A recent study showed the vast majority of respondents reported improved sleep levels immediately following chiropractic adjustments.