Give it a Rest (by Dr Angus Southwell – Chiropractor)
Sleep. We all know what it is and it’s part of a body’s natural process, but how does one get a good night’s sleep? According to the Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness in Australia, 39.8% of all Australian adults experience some form of inadequate sleep. Loss of sleep or sleep deprivation can cause many negative symptoms which include:
- Slowed thinking
- Reduction of energy
- Delayed reaction time
- Reduced productivity
- Mood changes such as irritability, stress and anxiety
- Poor memory retention
Sleep is an important function in our body as it stimulates recovery function in our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Our PNS is responsible for our body’s rest and digestive response whilst in the process decreases our respiration rate and increase our digestive rate.
Now that we know that sleep is important, the next question is how to get good and restful sleep? There had been many studies that have been done in regards of improving sleep duration and sleep qualities. Below are some tips you can use to make sure you stay on top of your sleeping game:
- Increase your exposure to natural sources of light
- Our bodies naturally produce the hormone Melatonin which is regulated by exposure to natural light. Having a balanced level of Melatonin greatly impacts the regulation of our bodies sleep wake cycle.
- Exercise during the day and not at night
- Although is naturally good for your health and through vigorous exercise the body fatigues naturally and hence providing an easier time falling asleep. As exercise speeds up the metabolism, raises body temperature and releases a hormone called cortisol which stimulates our sympathetic nervous system, which in the end spells disaster for sleep. Time your exercise right and ensure that you are going to bed at least 3 hours prior to exercise to ensure your body is in a more relaxed state.
- Watch what you eat and drink before bed
- Naturally our body goes into a parasympathetic state when we are resting and hence eating a large meal before bed is never a good idea. The bigger and heavier the mean, the more the body uses energy to process the food hence causing a disturbance in sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed is also not recommended as some drinks could act as a stimulant which could disrupt sleep.
- Create the Ideal sleeping environment
- Keep the room to a comfortable temperature (usually around 18 C) and ensure that noise levels are reduced to the bare minimum. By controlling as many factors as you can to ensure the environment is comfortable then the better it is and the easier it is for you to get a restful sleep.
- Relax and clear the mind
- Easier said then done yes but there are many ways that can help you wind down for the night. Guided meditation/sleep-casts and natural sounds such as rain drops or breeze through the wind could help get you in a more relaxed state for a great night’s rest.
Dr Angus Southwell- Bribie Island Chiropractor
To find out more on how you can improve your sleep, come ask one our friendly Chiropractors at Bellara Chiropractic