Ever heard that saying “Sleep is for the weak” ? Well today we’re here to state that is simply not the case. Sleep is an essential part of life. If someone sleeps eight hours per night, that would mean on average that same person would sleep one-third of their lifetime. The best experience of life and health requires knowledge. The truth of what comes at both ends of the spectrum allows us to choose wisely. This sticks true with sleep. A lack of sleep can be detrimental and proper sleep is a requirement for optimal health.
The American Sleep Association (ASA) states that 50-70 percent of U.S. adults have a sleep disorder. This can literally be a life and death situation or a serious injury can result. The ASA estimates that driving drowsy is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries every year. On the other end of the spectrum, the proper amount and quality of sleep helps propel you into optimal levels of health.
Purpose of Sleep
Let’s start at the brain. Your brain and your body need sleep. It’s a basic requirement. Studies have shown that rats deprived of sleep for periods of two to three weeks die. Our brain cells reorganize during sleep. This promotes healthy cognition and function. The brain’s cognitive abilities decrease and ultimately overall body function is hindered when deprived of sleep. Sleep supports the production of essential hormones required for childhood growth. Repair and restorative processes occur during sleep within all cells of the body for kids and adults alike. Sleep supports metabolism and energy levels.
Chiropractic and Sleep Health
The nervous system is the communication highway in your body. It’s the foundation of your health. When your nervous system is overloaded, stressed and strung out, one of the common side effects is that going and/or staying asleep can be quite difficult. It can leave folks feeling agitated and wired. The lack of sleep compounds the stress on the communication highway and the problem worsens. Chiropractic care takes stress off the nervous system by restoring optimal levels of spinal joint motion. The spine houses the central nervous system. When the spine is moving properly, the nervous system has the greatest opportunity to communicate optimally without interference. Often this most basic level of care is profoundly effective in reducing enough stress off the nervous system to facilitate better health and -- you got it -- sleep.
Use Blackout curtains and duct tape to black out your room.
Melatonin, also know as the sleep hormone, is raised when the sun goes down to indicate to our bodies that it’s time to rest. The problem is street lights, outlets, and all sorts of other unnatural lights confuse this hormone and trick it into thinking it’s still daytime. Also, computer screens and phone screens confuse melatonin as well. There are nighttime modes on these devices, but it’s always best to just not use them 1 hour before bedtime.
Have A Routine.
Humans are habitual creatures and creating a systematic routine will improve sleep. Something as simple as brushing your teeth, reading a book for 15 minutes and immediately going to bed is a habit you can build to make your sleep almost automatic at night.
Use Your Bed for Nothing but Sleep.
Goes with the habit thing, but the moment you hit the bed you want the body to recognize that it’s time to fall asleep. So try not to work on your bed or spend anytime on it when you’re not resting.
Use a pillow between or underneath your legs.
This will help to maintain the alignment of your back and improve your posture over time. It will also help those of you suffering with lower back pain. There is not perfect way to sleep, but on your back is probably best as it helps to maintain the alignment of your neck and spine.
Napping is great.
A short 20-30 minute nap lowers cortisol levels and is very healthy for the body. So bring back a little bit of your childhood and do a quick cat nap if feeling tired midday! Our last point is that the right amount of time for optimal sleep benefits is 7-9 hours per night. No less than 7 and no more than 9 is the perfect amount.