Posted by Dr. Beau Billett – Chiropractor
Did you know there is such a thing as sleep debt? It’s where you owe your body more sleep than you gave it the night before. Even if you get the proper amount of sleep the next night, you still need to make up for the sleep lost the previous day, otherwise your body will exact its vengeance upon you by making you tired and drowsy. This is your body’s way of telling you and getting what it wants. It wont tell you exactly what it wants, only give you hints or subtly coax you into doing its will.
Sleep is the body’s way of healing, preparing for the day ahead, and consolidating information learned throughout that day. It also sets up new pathways in the brain that allow for better learning and creative thinking, so it’s vital for any student (I’m looking at you teenagers).
With lack of sleep comes an increase in many other chronic health illnesses such as depression and cardiovascular disease. In children it has been well documented that the less they sleep, the more likely they are to develop obesity, and from an age as early as 30 months, if they aren’t getting enough sleep, we can predict that child to have obesity at seven years of age!
This is just a brief summary, however it clearly highlights the importance of sleep to our health and performance. So how can we improve our sleep? How much sleep should we be getting? And if it’s so important, why do we often view it as an inconvenient, unconscious, horizontal waste of time that gets in the way of our real lives?
There’s no magic number regarding number of hours of sleep but there are a few ranges to consider. As adults we should be getting 7-9 hours sleep, teens 8.5-9.25, school age children 10-11, preschool 11-13, toddlers 12-14, infants 14-15 and newborns 12-18 hours – the bludgers!
To be honest we really need to start respecting sleep as an important part of repairing and preparing to be fully equipped for the day ahead. We let our busy lives dictate our sleeping habits, even though it’s likely more important than whatever it is we are doing when we should be counting sheep.
Here are some things you can do to have better sleep;
- Establishing a regular bed time and time to wake is really important for our biological clock, or circadian rhythms, even on your days off.
- Having a relaxing ritual before you go to sleep, such as; having a warm shower, listening to some relaxing music or practicing your stretches and/or exercises your chiropractor has prescribed, is a great way to wind down.
- Having a cool and dark bedroom that you feel comfortable in without any distracting devices, such as a TV, and as little noise possible.
- And finally exercising during the day is a great way to make sure you go out like a light when you hit the pillow.
A lot of people also find chiropractic helps with their sleep too. This could be because if you’re feeling good, no aches or pains, you’re more likely to be comfortable when trying to get to sleep and whilst asleep. Also, it is my opinion that, if one has nervous system stress, especially in the upper cervical spine which supplies the sensation to the head and neck, this can interfere with getting that good restful sleep that one needs to recharge, and hence people often wake feeling tired even after having what they thought was a full nights sleep.
So tonight before you hit the sack, have a think about the things motioned above and if you’re truly giving your mind and body the best chance to carry out your busy schedule for tomorrow.
To see if one of our chiropractors can help with your sleep, call us on 07 3367 0337.