Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep has been studied for a long time and what the studies show now is that there’s over 40 million Americans that are considered sleep deprived. This is less than 6 or more hours per night.
Over 300 different studies show that the average amount of sleep most people need is 8 hours. You may be thinking that 8 hours seems like a lot.
What is the Ideal Amount of Sleep?
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The Risks of Sleep Deprivation
The research shows that if you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep many times you’re doing OK, but once you start dropping below that 7 hours several risks go up:
- Risk for weight gain goes up.
- Risk for chronic illness goes up.
- You’re more likely to get sick more often.
- You’re cognitively impaired.
- You have more anxiety and stress.. Therefore the risks to things like depression and emotional issues goes up.
- The risk of injury and accidents goes up significantly.
If you’re getting less than 6 hours sleep, this is what really starts affecting your health long term.
Sleep deprivation leads to:
- Cardiovascular heart disease
- Considerable weight gain
Accident related deaths are highly related to sleep. Especially in automobile accidents, as you get below 5 hours of sleep or less, this really becomes a chronic health issue.
Tips On How To Sleep Better
Tip #1: Improve Nervous System Health
The number one thing that you can do to have the most powerful outcome to your sleep is improve the health of your nervous system.
Right behind me is a diagram of how your nervous system works. It looks pretty complicated and you don’t have to understand everything.
What we really focus on with chiropractic is the brain and the nervous system.
Not neck pain. Not back pain. It’s not muscles or the spine.
It’s the nervous system, and your nervous system has two parts. There’s the sympathetic part and the parasympathetic part.
In an ideal health situation your body is balanced and it’s able to go from one to the next.
Sympathetic Nervous System
Sympathetic is what you need when you go to exercise. When you’re under stress, when you have to perform, and that’s a good thing.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
Parasympathetic is when your body needs to relax and your immune system needs to work and your digestive system needs to work and you need to go to sleep.
Stuck in Sympathetic Mode
Due to our stressful lives where emotional, physical, and chemical stress demands are higher than ever all around us, most people are stuck in a sympathetic stress state. In this state, your body’s ability to relax, calm down and sleep is restricted so people have difficulty going to sleep. They have difficulty staying asleep and they wake up not feeling rested.
In this state, even if you try to get 8 hours of sleep, that doesn’t actually happen, and you’re stuck getting four or five, maybe six hours of sleep.
This diagram behind me lists the stress response in your nervous system. Number one is your body releases the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines. These are the stress hormones of inflammation, pain, anxiety, and stress.
They cause an increase in:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose
- Insulin resistance
- Breathing rate
- Bone loss.
- None of these are health benefits.
What decreases is your:
- Healthy hormones like serotonin and dopamine. That’s why it leads to anxiety and depression.
- Hormone balance
- Immune system
- Healthy hormones like testosterone.
The Health Issues Associated With Long Term Sympathetic Nervous System States
Operating in a sympathetic state for long periods of time is a big issue. And this is what leads to many health problems.
As you can see here the health issues include anxiety, depression, faster aging, focus issues, diabetes, obesity, trouble sleeping, and high cholesterol.
The simple solution could actually be chiropractic and adjustments to get your spine and nervous system healthy. That’s the 1st place to start. So many people are taking sleep medications, trying all these different sleep therapies, doing sleep studies, and using sleep apnea machines. The list goes on and on and on and it doesn’t resolve this issue.
I’ve been working with thousands of patients for the last 10 years and by and far, the most common health benefits other than feeling better that we see within just the first month of care for patients is them sleeping better. Many times better than they have slept in years!
So try chiropractic first. Get your brain and nervous system evaluated. Get it in a healthy state and you will likely see that your sleep starts increasing right away.
Sleep Tip #2: Assist Your Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms are the rhythm of sleep that happens naturally within your body. This is based upon light and time of day.
Some healthy things that you can do is get at least 10 to 15 minutes of morning sunlight within the first hour of waking. Get another 30 to 45 minutes of midday sunlight where you’re going out in the sun without sunglasses or anything else. This allows you to get this light into the brain and set your circadian rhythms for the day. Then at night, at least two hours before you go to bed, try to minimize lights, including overhead lights, and lights emitted from screens, TV, phone, and computers.
You can even wear blue light blocking glasses, which I use consistently because the light at night keeps you awake. The light in the midday actually stimulates your nervous system to start winding down towards the end of the day. To increase the production of what’s called melatonin.
Your body naturally has a rhythm of sleep. If you do these things properly and you have a healthy nervous system. if you have a healthy lifestyle, which we teach here in the office. You get out in the sun early in the morning, and in the middle part of the day, and then at night you avoid light.
You’re going to notice that your sleep rhythm is better. You’re going to get more deep and restful sleep, and this is something you can start doing right away.
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If you want to learn more about how you can get to the cause of your pain, stress issues and your health problems and find a natural drug free solution check us out online or call the office. We have hundreds of videos on our Youtube channel that you can look at and there’s all kinds of other resources that we post to other social media channels to help you live a healthier life, naturally.
Have you had the opportunity to join us at one of our community education events yet? During the community education events, Dr. Tim sifts through all of the knowledge out there to bring you key information about how to get healthy and stay that way and shares answers to frequently asked questions on chiropractic care and healthy eating. Contact our office to learn about upcoming classes. Enjoy the clips of previous events here.