Sleep and Chiropractic
Have you ever had a bad night’s sleep? Who hasn’t! Most of the time, sleep disturbances can be linked to a specific cause such as pain, stress, alcohol intake, or caffeine intake. But for many people, sleep disruptions are a chronic and distressing problem.
What is Sleep
Sleep is necessary for the brain and the body to refresh each day. While awake, the brain activity can cause the brain systems to become out of balance with one another. During sleep, normal brain system balance is restored. The body also refreshes itself during sleep. Blood pressure drops, muscles relax, and heart rate decreases during sleep, and this allows the body to repair itself after the day.
Difficulty falling asleep is typically caused by lifestyle factors and what happens right before going to bed. Ingesting caffeine, alcohol, decongestants, or smoking can all delay the onset of sleep. Emotionally charged events such as an argument, stimulating reading, or paying bills can also delay falling asleep. Daily habits such as taking naps, smoking over one pack/day, and exercising late in the day can also make falling asleep difficult.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome is a condition that can delay falling asleep until as late as 2 or 3 am. Restless legs syndrome causes an irresistible urge to move the legs every few minutes to every 20 to 30 seconds. The cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown , and treatment options are somewhat limited.
Waking Up Early
Waking up early in the morning is most often associated with alcohol consumption, but it can be a symptom of depression. In addition to causing early morning awakening, depression will also cause you to lose interest in activities, hobbies, or relationships you use to look forward to and enjoy. If you are experiencing these symptoms of depression, please consult with your physician for further evaluation.
Waking up Frequently
Frequent awakening during the night is most commonly caused by pain, drugs, alcohol, or an uncomfortable or strange environment. If there appears to be no cause for waking up frequently during the night, a sleep disorder is probably to blame. The most common sleep disorder is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by periods where breathing slows, and eventually stops for short periods of time. Sleep apnea causes daytime tiredness, early morning headache, and loud snoring. To diagnose sleep apnea, or any other sleep disorder, sleep studies are necessary.
How to Sleep – Get Better Sleep
What can you do to help promote better sleep? Try to go to sleep at the same time each evening. The room you sleep in should be free of stimulation, no noise or light, and the bed should be supportive. Avoid eating, smoking, drinking, caffeine, and exercise right before going to bed. If you keep thinking about something and are unable to fall asleep, write it down and try to deal with it in the morning if possible. Try not to use over-the-counter sleep medication because it can be habit forming, and with time it can actually interfere with normal sleep.
Chiropractic for Sleep
If you still find yourself unable to sleep due to discomfort or pain, consider consulting a Chiropractor. Muscle aches, joint problems, tendonitis, bursitis, and other more serious conditions can prevent a restful night sleep. Your chiropractor can evaluate your complaints, diagnose the problem, and treat the problem at its cause so restful sleep can occur again. Acupuncture is also effective at promoting deeper sleep. Acupuncture balances the body’s energy, reduces pain, and relaxes the body and mind. All of these effects result in deeper sleep.