Not Sleeping? Chiropractic Can Help

Up all night? You’re not alone. According to a study conducted by Université Laval researchers under the supervision of Dr. Charles M. Morin, 40% of adult Canadians are affected by sleep disorders. The research also determined that most sufferers try to help the problem themselves instead of consulting a health care professional. According to Dr. Morin, “This is not a good idea because we don’t know the risks and benefits of products that have not been approved by government health agencies.” Are you one of the many people looking for a natural way to finally get some sleep? Follow the tips below and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.

What is Insomnia?

Different people require different amounts of sleep. Some people can sleep for 5 hours and wake up feeling refreshed, while others can sleep for 8 hours and wake up feeling groggy and fatigued. When it comes to sleep, it’s really quality over quantity. However, doctors suggest that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Unfortunately for those living with insomnia, getting the recommended amount of sleep is virtually impossible. Insomnia sufferers either have a difficult time falling asleep, wake up often during the night, or can’t fall back asleep once awake. This causes grumpiness and irritability as well as:

• Disrupts hormone levels and increase risk of cancer.
• Increases risk for heart attack and stroke.
• Increases blood pressure.
• Increases risk of developing diabetes.
• Decreases energy.
• Reduces memory ability.
• Causes weight gain.
• Contributes to depression
• Prevents body from healing wounds and sunburns.

What Causes Insomnia?

According to HelpGuide.org insomnia can be caused by:

• Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Medications such as antidepressants; cold and flu medications that contain alcohol; pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin); diuretics, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications.
• Medical problems like asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, cancer, chronic pain.
• Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome.

Simple Tips That Will Help You Sleep Better

Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to sleep. Here are Dr. Nathalie’s top tips when it comes to getting better sleep…

1. Listen to ‘white noise’ or relaxing music

‘White noise’ is a common synthetic noise source frequently used for sound masking. Some people find the sound of ‘white noise’ or nature sounds such as the ocean or forest to be soothing for sleep.
Tip: An electronic air filter or a fan make great “white” noise for sleeping.

2. Avoid before-bed snacks

If you have to snack, choose a high-protein option, such as a whey protein shake. This will provide L-tryptophan, needed to produce serotonin and melatonin, which will actually help you sleep.
Avoid grains and sugar. These foods will raise blood sugar and hinder sleep.

3. Keep a schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same respective time every day.
• This will help train your body to sleep on a schedule.
• If you can maintain this schedule for three weeks, you’ll probably find yourself falling asleep faster, and feeling more refreshed.
• To achieve this, however, you can’t sleep in on weekends or stay up too late, either. Keep in mind that the natural human biorhythm is to sleep between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

4. Create a bedtime routine

Create a nightly routine to tell your body that it’s time to sleep.
• Start the routine about 30 minutes before you lay down to help release stressful thoughts.
• Your routine could include meditation, deep breathing, reading or a warm bath. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the day’s tensions.
• Avoid watching TV or reading something too adventurous though, as this will stimulate your brain and likely have just the opposite effect, provoking you to stay up later.

5. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night’s sleep.
• In one study, individuals who were extremely obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more, had higher odds of reporting insomnia than those of normal weight, with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.

6. Exercise daily

Daily exercise has been shown to improve your chances of falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly.
• Research shows that you get a better sleep with regular exercise.
• Try to exercise early in the day and avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Exercising too late in the day can make it difficult for you to fall asleep because it is a stimulant.

7. Make your bedroom dark

As mentioned earlier, you need to produce the hormones serotonin and melatonin in order to achieve deep sleep. Since even a little bit of light will diminish the hormones’ efficiency, sleep in a dark room and don’t turn on the lights at any time during the night if you need to get up.
• Consider getting an eye mask to help you block out any light that might impede your sleep.

8. Get some sunshine

Sunlight helps regulate your internal clock, thus stimulating your body to produce melatonin – which normalizes your sleep cycle.
• You need exposure to bright light every day. Morning sunlight exposure can be especially helpful. Be sure to open the drapes every morning to let light in.
• Spend time outside!

9. Avoid caffeine after noon

Some people are caffeine-sensitive and can’t drink coffee, tea or any other caffeinated beverage up to six hours before bedtime. Some people just can’t metabolize caffeine efficiently. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to avoid all afternoon and evening caffeine.

10. Journaling

If you often lie in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to start keeping a journal and write down your thoughts therein before bed. This allows your mind to rest, and may even help create solutions in your sleep

11. Go to bed early

Many of your body’s systems do the majority of their recharging and recovering between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
• For example, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this time. If you’re awake however, the toxins may back up into the liver, which will impact your health.

12. No TV In the bedroom

The electromagnetic fields are not good for you.
• Additionally, it is not recommended to have all the negative images and thoughts of today’s news running through your mind as you try to fall asleep.

13. Avoid alcohol

That small glass of wine can actually make it more difficult for you to stay asleep. After an evening drink you might fall asleep just fine, but you are likely to wake up in the middle of the night. This effect is caused by a rebound in blood sugar and withdrawal from the alcohol after it has metabolized.
• Try avoiding alcohol before sleep and see if you sleep more soundly. For every drink you have, give your body at least an hour before trying to fall asleep.
• Keep in mind that alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, when the body does most of its healing.

14. Be smoke-free

The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant that will keep you awake – just another one of the many bad things smoking does to your body.
• Smokers may also wake up prematurely, due to nicotine withdrawal.

15. Remove the clock from view

It will only add to your worry when you constantly watch it, so put the clock somewhere such that you can’t stare at it all night.
• Also, the electromagnetic frequency energy emitted by your alarm clock can interfere with your body’s recuperative abilities as well.

15. Make preparations for the next day

Before heading to bed, determine what you’d like to accomplish during the next day, so you don’t have to think about it while trying to get to sleep.
• Additionally, you can prepare your gym bag and your clothes the night before.

16. Invest in a magnetic sleep system

A high quality magnetic sleep system can help your body “recharge” its own magnetic energy.
• The magnetism will help you get a deeper and more regenerative sleep, while helping ailments like a sore back or achy joints.

17. Power naps

If you have the opportunity, napping during the day isn’t only an effective and refreshing alternative to caffeine, it also promotes wellness and makes you more productive.
• Studies show that people who nap several times a week have a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function and mood.

18. See your Wellness Chiropractor

Having an optimal spine and nervous system is very important in order to get proper sleep. Your nervous system is your body’s master system, and affects all your cells, tissues and organs.
• If you have interferences on your nervous system due to spinal misalignments caused by physical, psychological and/or biochemical stresses, it will have a major impact on your sleep and your body’s ability to recuperate.

Enjoyed this blog? Share it with your family, friends and coworkers. Who knows, it might just be the information they need to finally get a good night’s rest!

Sleep Disorders Affect 40% of Canadians – Université Laval
Help Guide – Insomnia Treatment