Americans spend more than $2 billion each year on sleep-aiding medications. Sleep is supposed to be a natural process. What's going on? There are many issues in the way of getting a good night's sleep. Daily stresses - work problems, financial difficulties, family challenges - can all keep a person up at night. We rehash what was said over and over again, or we endlessly review the problems confronting us, creating more anxiety and worry while the minutes and maybe even hours tick away.
Eating late at night - particularly fat-filled foods and snacks - may also interfere with a person's ability to fall asleep and sleep restfully. Late night meals engage all the resources of your digestive system - your body is actually doing a lot of work when it's supposed to be resting. Not good. And, of course, a lot of this late night food is stored as fat, creating additional problems.
Not enough exercise also contributes to lack of restful sleep. When you're doing vigorous physical work, your body needs to recover. Sleep allows your body to repair and rebuild, getting stronger in the process. Regardless of one's stresses and worries, vigorous exercise makes a physical demand on your body that will put you right to sleep.
If you're not exercising regularly, this strong physiologic need for deep rest is missing, and you'll likely be tossing and turning the night away.
Old, soft, lumpy mattresses are another potential sleep-disturber. But too-firm mattresses may also cause problems. A good mattress is supportive and comfortable - it "gives" in all the right places and provides a balanced, springy platform for a restful night's sleep. The solutions are straightforward and none of them involve medication. Regular exercise is the key ingredient. With consistent exercise, your body's need for sleep will win out over your conscious mind's automatic mechanism of repeatedly processing the day's events.
Chiropractic care may be another key ingredient. Gentle chiropractic treatment ensures that all your body's systems are talking to each other and the right messages are getting through. Chiropractic treatment ensures clear communication from one body system to another. Late at night, systems shut down when they're supposed to and the result is a good night's sleep. Your chiropractor will be glad to provide you with important information on customized exercise and nutrition programs that will help you continue to be healthy and well.
1Richardson GS: Human physiological models of insomnia. Sleep Med 8(Suppl 4):S9-S14, 2007
2Lee YC, et al: Lifestyle risk factors associated with fatigue in graduate students. J Formos Med Assoc 106(7):565-572, 2007
3Li F, et al: Tai chi and self-rated quality of sleep and daytime sleepiness in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 52(6):892-900, 2004