Sleep is a complex interactive function coordinated by many parts of the brain. This interaction is dependent on changing levels of serotonin, catecholamines, acetylcholine, and a host of other neurotransmitters (chemical substances made by the nerve cells specifically to transmit a message). During sleep there are also fluctuations of hormonal levels that may play a role in the quality of sleep and wakefulness. Chiropractic adjustments, nutritional and lifestyle suggestions can help you recover from insomnia and develop healthier sleep.
A paper in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders examines a potential hypothesis as to why a chiropractic adjustment could help insomnia. Leonard Vernon, D.C. points out the neuro-physiology behind such a theory in his paper, “the Chiropractic Subluxation and Insomnia: Could there be a connection?” Dr. Vernon examines a potential hypothesis as to why “traditional” misalignment (chiropractic subluxation) based chiropractic can help patients suffering from insomnia.
If you’ve had neck or back pain you’ve likely considered seeing a chiropractor. Certainly chiropractors adjust the spine to improve pain and mobility, but the benefits may extend beyond the back and neck. Chiropractors try to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system, which affects the function of all the organs and systems in your body.
Difficulty falling asleep?
Perhaps you are anxious and can’t sleep? This is usually self-limiting (resolves without treatment). But if you are taking alcohol, drinking caffeine or smoking prior to sleeping this may keep you awake. Also, many medications may also cause insomnia such as over-the-counter (OTC) stimulants such as nasal sprays and prescription drugs. And over the counter sleep medications used for more than one week may exacerbate your insomnia.
If you cannot stop moving your legs or often have jerks, this could be restless legs syndrome or myoclonic jerks. These prevent and interrupt sleep. While both are benign, it can make you very tired and fatigued. Restless Legs Syndrome is characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs because of a “creeping” sensation inside the calves. Similarly, you may also have nocturnal myoclonus (sudden, brief involuntary twitching or jerking of a muscle). Patients with restless legs syndrome may have an underlying cause. Therefore, it is important to determine whether a deficiency of iron or folate exists or you are pregnant or have a peripheral neuropathy.
Awaken frequently during the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep?
Persistent leg cramps may also be a cause of frequent awakenings and may be due to excessive exercise, inadequate hydration, or deficiencies in potassium or calcium. Perhaps you are waking due to pain? Any painful process may interrupt sleep. Commonly, headaches and epigastric pain (i.e. peptic ulcers) can be a culprit. Furthermore, painful conditions (headaches; hip, knee, shoulder, low back, and or neck pain) can cause problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
Are you a loud snorer and notice daytime tiredness and an early morning headache? Then sleep apnea could be a problem. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Risk factors include age, obesity and is more common in men. Symptoms include snoring loudly and feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep.
Sleep Hygiene Suggestions:
- Go to bed at a consistent time. Amount of sleep (you should sleep 7-8 1/2 hours a night), jet lag, work habits may be contributing to your problem.
- Sleep in a comfortable room that is cool and free of stimulation (noise, light, restless sleep partner).
- Sleep on a comfortable bed (more firm is suggested).
- Do not eat large amounts of food prior to sleeping. Your sleep problem can also be related to a diet related- food allergy
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine prior to sleeping.
- Do not exercise heavily before sleeping.
- Avoid daytime napping.
- If focused on a bothersome mental concern, write it down and deal with it in the morning if possible.
- If unable to sleep after 30 minutes, get up and have a light snack or listen to soothing music; then return to bed.
- Avoid the use of OTC (over the counter) sleep medications.
- Weight reduction may be helpful to those with sleep apnea.
- Get adjusted by your North Palm Beach chiropractor!
According to The Association of Chiropractic Colleges, “Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.” Chiropractors help shape the environment where your body’s natural healing, under the right conditions could take place. The proper alignment of your spine by way of the adjustment affects the central nervous system. This can tremendously affect your overall well-being.
Meiri Chiropractic is a chiropractic clinic in North Palm Beach that offers holistic care. Call us at 561-253-8984 to find out more about Sleeping Better: Chiropractic adjustments for insomnia.