Sleep is an often-overlooked component of a person’s overall well-being. Getting enough sleep is crucial to learning and memory, when we rest our brains can input/integrate new information. A lack of sleep can adversely affect our hormones causing an increase in appetite and weight gain. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in mistakes. Sleep deprivation has been shown to produce similar effects as alcohol use and has been linked to Medical Errors, Air Traffic incidents and Traffic Accidents.
When the body’s central nervous system is running optimally and is 100% healthy, all systems are functioning properly. When there are interferences in your nervous system, the body does not function at 100%. When the systems of the body do not function correctly, health issues (including sleep disorders) may arise. According to the CDC and the Institute of Medicine. (Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006.) 50-70 million people in the United States have sleep disorders.
Interferences in the nervous system cause imbalance and make it hard for the body rest. Pain (acute and chronic) are other major causes of sleep disturbances. Sleep is crucial to optimum health as it is when the body repairs, rejuvenates, and restores itself in preparation for the next day. Sleep supports healthy growth and development, especially in kids and adolescents!
When it comes to sleep duration, everyone is different. One person may need 6 hours of sleep each night to be fully rested while another may need 9 hours to feel the same way. Approximately eight hours of sleep per night seems to be the optimal amount for most people. Not getting enough sleep will have adverse effects on your health over time. Studies show that when the body’s central circadian rhythms (biological cycles that occur within 24-hour intervals) are disrupted, it will result in elevated levels of Cortisol (what is known as the stress hormone). When these Cortisol levels remain high for a period of time, it can affect the body in many ways.
1) It can reduce the density of bones and the muscle mass
2) It can affect the immune system
3) It can store fat in the stomach area and cause weight gain
4) It can impact how the thyroid gland functions
5) It can disrupt the Melatonin level in the body (melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is secreted during the dark phase of the 24-hour cycle. This substance has been shown to influence sleep patterns and reduce the symptoms related to insomnia).
Here are some tips to get a good night’s sleep!
- Limit intake of caffeine (avoid it in the evening)
- Eat dinner before 6 pm. If you do eat within couple hours of going to sleep, pay attention to what you are eating. Protein is required in generating cells and is instrumental in the rest and digest processes so consuming protein before bed is very important. Avoid carbohydrates as they’re used for energy and we don’t want to be “energized” right before bedtime. Do not eat “fast food”, “processed foods” or “junk food”.
- Avoid TV and computer devices an hour before bed
- Stay active and exercise regularly
- Avoid consuming excess alcohol
- Set a healthy sleep routine and stick to it – try to have a regular sleep schedule.
- Create a proper sleep environment for yourself (“black-out” shades or drapes, close your bedroom door, and turn off electronic devices.
- Invest in a proper mattress and pillows – we can help with recommendations!
- Decrease stress levels – find ways to bring balance to your life.
- Get a chiropractic treatment! Mis-alignments (subluxations) of the spine can hinder the brain and nervous system from communicating properly and cause sleep problems.