The importance of sleep

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong chiropractors understand the important role sleep has on our health and wellbeing. It only takes a few sub-optimal nights of sleep to quickly see the downside sleep can have on our energy, mood and productivity. Reduced sleep quality also increases our sensitivity to stress and pain, increased injury risk and impairs immune system function.

Our Geelong chiropractors understand that getting sleep back on track is an important pillar in managing pain and function in the short term, but also in sustaining good health in the long term.

Here are some off the ways sleep helps us maintain good health and well-being:

  • Lowers stress sensitivity. Sleep makes you more tolerable and less sensitive to stress, which can help reduce muscle tension build up, clenching & grinding behaviours and much more.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can increase appetite and make it harder to lose weight.
  • Lower your risk of chronic diseases. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Improve your mood and cognitive function. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to experience mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Sleep also helps to consolidate memories and improve learning.
  • Protect your immune system. Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get sick.
  • Reduce your risk of accidents. Sleep deprivation can impair your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This can increase your risk of accidents, both at home and on the road.

Getting your sleep back on track

Here are some best practices for a good night’s sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music. Avoid watching TV or using electronic devices in the hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Darkness helps to promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. Noise and light can disrupt sleep, so make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible. A cool temperature (around 18 degrees celsius) is also ideal for sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine and alcohol can both interfere with sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, while alcohol can disrupt sleep later in the night.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise can help to improve sleep quality, but it’s important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime. Aim to finish your workout at least 3 hours before bed.
  • See a health professional. If you’ve tried the above tips and you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your health professional. There may be an underlying condition that’s interfering with your sleep.

Here are some additional tips that may help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Nap during the day if you need to, but keep it short (30 minutes or less).
  • Avoid napping too late in the day, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Napping can reduce the build up of adenosine, which is responsible for helping us sleep.
  • Avoid eating large meals or sugary foods before bed. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. This will help to prevent you from associating your bed with frustration and wakefulness.
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try some relaxation techniques before bed. Aiming to calm your central nervous system, this could include deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

Following these tips can help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

References

  1. Vladyslav V Vyazovskiy (2015) Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep, Nature and Science of Sleep, 7:, 171-184, DOI: 10.2147/NSS.S54036
  2. Zachary A. Caddick, Kevin Gregory, Lucia Arsintescu, Erin E. Flynn-Evans, A review of the environmental parameters necessary for an optimal sleep environment, Building and Environment, Volume 132, 2018, Pages 11-20, ISSN 0360-1323, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.01.020.
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Empowered Health Team