Are you getting enough sleep?
A recent survey by the Better Sleep Council indicated that almost 70 percent of U.S. women sleep less than the recommended eight hours per night and more than 50 percent of men report the same. If you are not getting enough shut-eye, then take heed, because lack of sleep has been linked to increased health risks in a number of areas such as heart disease, obesity, and chronic fatigue.
So, why are we having trouble getting enough sleep? Stress from work or family, anxiety, illness, allergies, diet factors such as too much caffeine, sugar, or alcohol, are just some of the reasons.
Here are some common sense hints for getting you the sleep your body deserves:
1. Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get. Aerobic exercise each day and weight lifting two-three time per week is optimum.
2. Eat dinner two-three hours before bedtime and minimize liquid intake. Heavy dinners tend to keep us awake as do meals that are high protein. Some people report better sleep with cottage cheese or a glass or warm cow’s milk or soy milk.
3. Begin slowing down one hour before bed-time. Take thirty minutes before bed to use for relaxing, such as soothing in a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, and/or listening to calming music.
4. Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Don’t consume caffeine after two pm if you have trouble sleeping.
5. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as it will interfere with your sleep later in the night.
6. Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
7. Establish regular times for bed and for waking.
8. Improve the sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature. People report that they sleep better when they take the TV out of their room.
How Chiropractic Helps Insomnia
Many patients begin care when they notice they can’t sleep comfortably due to pain. As they complete the first phase of pain-relief care they begin reporting much more regular, comfortable sleep. With increased sleep patients experience better mood, cognitive function as well as immune function.
In addition to physical discomfort, many of our Atlanta chiropractic patients don’t sleep well due to emotional stress. Ongoing stress causes hyper-stimulation of the “flight or fright” portion of the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments in Atlanta stimulate the “wine and dine” part of the nervous system that brings relaxation. After continuing chiropractic care beyond symptoms, patients report that they are sleeping better than they have in years!
Here are some additional SCC staff ideas for a better night’s sleep:
1) Listen to Speed Sleep or Progressive Relaxation CD’s. (Ask for your copy!) Keep an iPod or mp3 player next to your bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, put your headphones on and allow yourself to be lulled back to sleep. Resist the temptation to turn on the lights and don’t look at the clock!
2) Keep some index cards on your nightstand and jot down any to-do items or thoughts that you absolutely can’t get out of your brain. Write them down and tell yourself they’re handled. Tell yourself, “I deserve a good night’s sleep!”
3) Keep a small basket of natural sleep aids next to your bed and in your pantry. These could include Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepy-Time Tea, liquid melatonin, L-Theanine (the “Zen” vitamin), Bach Flower’s Rescue Remedy, pure lavender and many more. Check with us for specific recommendations.
4) Continue regular, preventative chiropractic adjustments so you can sleep comfortably and peacefully!
5) Practice EFT, (Emotional Freedom Technique) throughout the day and while listening to one of the relaxation CD’s. You can learn more about this simple technique for processing emotions through the body by searching online, or asking us for a hand-out. EFT teaches you how to tap certain meridian, or energy points in the body that can result in deeper relaxation.
Call us today to schedule your appointment if you'd like to improve your sleep!
To Your Health,
~ Dr. Kathleen Sherwood