Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, but around of third of people are surviving on less than that. Sometimes there are obvious short-term reasons (such as a new baby) sometimes this lack of sleep can become a chronic problem. The consequences of long-term sleep deprivation aren't just grumpiness and fatigue. It can actually cause a variety of health issues, including:
• problems with memory and decision making
• increased risk of diabetes
• high blood pressure
• increased risk of heart disease
• a weakened immune system/higher susceptibility to illness
• increased risk of some cancers
• depression and anxiety
• accelerated aging
Why go to a chiropractor for help with sleep problems?
Your first port of call if you start having trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep, may be to try and get some sleeping pills. Doctors are reluctant to prescribe these nowadays, however, as they have some unpleasant side effects and can be addictive. Because of this, many people now turn to chiropractors to try and get some relief from their sleeping problems.
Chiropractic care can offer much more than spinal adjustments alone, and the varied nature of their treatments can provide a well-rounded approach to the complex problem of sleep issues.
Sometimes, sleep problems do have quite a simple cause - pain. Chronic pain can keep you up at night simply because it makes you too uncomfortable to sleep. Chiropractic care can help to treat the cause of the chronic pain, which should lead to a better night's sleep.
Some treatments for chronic pain include:
• spinal adjustments
• exercise advice
• electronic modalities, such as cold laser therapy, TENS machine, or ultrasound
Stress is one of the leading causes of lack of sleep. It causes changes to the mind and the body that can make sleep very difficult to come by. Chiropractic care, including spinal adjustments, exercises, massage, and stretching can all relieve stress and promote relaxation.
One of the hallmark symptoms of anxiety is problems with getting to sleep. This can be a symptom of its own, but it can also be a byproduct of other anxiety symptoms, such as racing thoughts/rumination, tension, inability to relax/"switch off", and a racing heartbeat. Chiropractic care can help to relieve these symptoms. Treatments such as spinal adjustments and electronic modalities can trigger the release of positive hormones, such as endorphins, oxytocin, and cortisol. Massage therapy, stretching, and exercises can promote relaxation, slow the heart rate, and reduce tension.
Sleep health/sleep environment
For many people, difficulties with sleep can stem from poor sleep habits and/or a sleep environment that isn't the best for promoting sleep. Some common sleep health problems include:
• looking at screens that emit a blue light too close to bedtime (these can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythm)
• caffeine in the afternoon/evening
• eating too late at night
• exercise too close to bedtime
• not having a healthy sleep routine
• an uncomfortable mattress and/or pillow
• a sleep environment that prevents sleep (e.g. notification sounds, too hot, too loud or too quiet, too much outside light, etc)
Chiropractic practitioners are qualified to be able to give sleep health advice and will work with their patients to develop strategies to promote sleep. This can include advice about sleeping positions, whether the use of a chiropractic pillow or mattress would be beneficial, as well as sleep advice specific to the patient's situation.
Chiropractic practitioners are uniquely placed to be able to help patients who have sleep problems, due to being able to take an approach that considers the many varied reasons why sleep could be disrupted. This can include reducing pain and promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, and advice to promote better sleep health