Sleep For Health and Happiness
By Dr Esyltt Graham Chiropractor
Do you leap out of bed in the morning full of energy? Or do you hit the snooze button three times then reluctantly drag yourself out from under the bed covers?
Falling asleep easily, staying asleep and waking refreshed are aspects of sleep that are difficult for some people. However there are several strategies that can be used to promote restful sleep. And the benefits are greater than most people realise. For example, people who sleep well are less likely to suffer from colds, and more likely to maintain a healthier weight.
A survey conducted by the Chiropractic Association of Australia in 2008 showed that 24% of Australians had recently used prescription painkillers to get to sleep and 12% had used sleeping pills.
Causes of interrupted sleep include stress, illness, drugs, caffeine intake, sleep disorders and environmental factors.
The following habits will help promote a healthy sleep.
1. Establish bed time routines, including a regular time for going to sleep and waking.
2. Avoid bright lights and light from television and computer screens for an hour before bed time.
3. Limit the amount of caffeine consumed, especially after 4pm. Remember caffeine is not just in coffee, tea, coca cola and energy drinks also contain caffeine. Chamomile tea is helpful in promoting a restful night’s sleep, whilst chamomile tea bags are convenient the taste of chamomile tea made from loose dried chamomile flowers is more enjoyable.
4. The effect of alcohol is deceiving. It may seem easier to fall asleep however it causes interruptions in sleep.
5. Exercise during the day contributes to good sleep however avoid exercising in the evening if falling asleep is difficult.
6. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room.
Selecting the right bed is often a challenge. As we ideally spend a third of our life in bed, it is worth careful consideration. Most beds have a life span of about 10 years. Beds need to be supportive without being excessively hard. A good bed will mould to the shape of your body. Lie on a bed for at least 10 minutes before buying it. If the base has slats the distance between the slats should be not greater than 2cm.
Posture in bed is also important. Stomach sleepers regularly develop spinal problems from turning their head to one side. The tension created in the neck and spine is detrimental, and there is often associated low back discomfort from the increased curve in the low back which occurs on lying on your stomach. Instead, lie on your side or back and support your head and neck with a pillow that is the right height for your build, and soft enough to deform to the shape of the head.
Poor sleep can lead to reduced performance at work and school, increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and behavioural problems in children (as well as their sleep deprived parents).
A commonly reported side benefit of chiropractic care is improved sleep. A better night’s sleep equates to a better life.
Esyltt Graham B.App.Sc (Chiro) M.Sc Chiropractic (Paeds)
55 Throssell Street Collie WA 6225
Family Health Care - Naturally