All About Sleep, From Your Chiropractor
This past week I listened to a holistic health podcast episode that was all about sleep, and I thought it was time to do a post on this vital topic to share what I learned!
Sleep is one of THE BEST tools at our disposable for increasing our health and well-being. It's free, it's achievable, and it arguably packs some of the most powerful and effective healing capabilities we know of.
While many things can effect our ability to sleep as well as the quality of our sleep, I am going to go through a few of the basic yet important ones.
*CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS HELP IMPROVE SLEEP: Chiropractic adjustments most obviously alleviate pain and tension in the body that may be contributing to poor sleep. Adjustments also help improve our central nervous system function and balance, which aids the body in shifting to a more relaxed state when it comes time to sleep. Chiropractic adjustments improve blood flow and circulation throughout the body, helping to relax the body and improve function. Adjustments help to open and reduce compression on our airways, reducing snoring and sleep apnea.
STRESS: Mind-body techniques such as Neuro-Emotional Technique, which I have taken multiple seminars in, in the office are how I address the negative impact that stress has on my patients' bodies. Anxiety and emotional stressors can greatly disrupt our sleep. In the office, we can use muscle testing to identify emotional stressors and a variety of manual techniques to help process those stressors. I always believe this should be combined with at-home stress management, including meditation, talk therapy, journaling, or whatever works for you! If you need ideas, just ask at your next session!
AMOUNT OF SLEEP: Sleep Journal states that we need 7-9 hours of sleep per night as adults. A comforting reminder: even if you are not asleep the entire 7-9 hours, JUST laying in bed in the darkness, resting your body and your eyes, is very restorative for your body. Do not worry if you cannot fall asleep, for even just laying in bed resting is very helpful for your health. I encourage those who cannot fall asleep to view just laying there as a restorative and restful thing. This also helps eliminate the anxiety around not being able to sleep. If you must get up, try to do something that does NOT involve screens or lights.
*EXERCISE AND SLEEP: Lack of exercise/sufficient activity during the daytime is one of the biggest contributors to poor sleep. What you do during the day LARGELY determines how well you will fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Ensure that you are getting enough physical activity during the day or just before bed, even if this means simply walking around your neighborhood. Get moving!
*MEALS AND SLEEP: It makes more sense to eat our larger meals before we are active, and our smaller meals before bedtime/rest. We tend to do the opposite and make dinner our biggest meal. Try eating more during the day, before you are most active, and eating a smaller meal for dinner. This reduces nighttime reflux and GI activity. Cut out alcohol and caffeine before bed.
*CONSISTENT ROUTINE: The key to better sleep is to stick to a consistent routine. Perhaps this includes cutting screen time at X amount of time before bed (suggested 1-2 hours), doing X restful activity before bed (reading, meditating, listening to quiet music) and having lights out by X time.
I hope you find this post helpful, and sweet dreams!