Struggling With Sleep?
Sleep. Seems pretty basic, right? I’ve been sleeping off and on my whole life!
So what’s the big deal? Well, it isn’t a big deal…until you’re not getting it. Other than pain and discomfort, this is one of the biggest complaints that we see in our office.
Why it’s important
Sleep factors into a ton of different things. For starters, it is restorative for your brain. During deep sleep your brain is flushed with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is a fluid that flows through your brain and spinal cord. One of the biggest benefits of this is that it helps to wash the plaque (amyloids) that is thought to be one of the primary reasons people get Alzheimer’s disease.
It also helps with a number of other things. For starters, here are a few things we know it does:
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves recovery
- Improves immune function
- Cell regeneration
- Growth and repair of tissues (why kids need so much of it!)
- Increase in energy (I mean who really needs that?!)
- Regulates the endocrine system (men with low Testosterone typically have terrible sleep habits).
- Endless more…
When your sleep suffers, so does the rest of your body. The truth is, if you are not sleeping well, then you are functioning at a suboptimal level.
I constantly preach on getting adjusted, diet, and exercise regularly. I don’t spend enough time telling people about sleep because most of the time people WILL sleep better if they are getting adjusted, eating well, and exercising regularly.
OK, Doc…I’m already doing those things!
So, you’re getting adjusted, eating healthy foods, and working out regularly but your sleep is still terrible. Here is a quick list of tips and tricks that have helped a lot of people when they are already getting the big three.
- Go on daily walks, preferably outside in the morning sun (helps your circadian rhythm)
- Turn off all electronics two hours before bed.
- If the previous one isn’t possible (have to work on a computer), then buy a pair of blue light blocking glasses
- Ensure your diet is a nutrient dense (B Vitamin deficiency often leads to sleep disturbances)
- Turn off overhead lights 2-hours before bed and only use low light (this one is tough but reading by a fire or candle is extremely helpful and relaxing)
- Don’t eat 3-4 hours before bed
- Sleep in a cool room
- Blackout curtains for as close to pitch black as possible
- Ensure it is completely silent or try white/nature noise
- Pray / meditate for 10-minutes prior to sleep
- Take magnesium 30-minutes before bed (helps easy tension. If this isn’t enough, ask us about Min/Chex and Kava Root)
Some of this seems like it is ridiculous or too difficult to do. However, living with insufficient sleep isn’t really living. Once you figure out your sleep, you’ll see that it is worth whatever loops you had through to get it.
Stay healthy. Stay rested, because being sleepy sucks.