When we think of healthful lifestyle choices, we quickly think about a healthy diet and regular exercise. But many people neglect to take into account the third pillar of healthy lifestyle enhancement: getting sufficient rest. Obtaining enough restorative, refreshing sleep may be the most underrated and under-discussed lifestyle choice.1,2
The amount of sleep necessary to maintain good health varies among individuals, but the minimum requirement is most often reported as seven hours. For most of us, getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis will likely be insufficient to support physiological functioning.
Sufficient rest enables our bodies to recover from daily stresses and strains and repair damaged cells and tissues. Getting less sleep than we need, over time, results in muscle and joint stiffness and tension, otherwise unexplained aches and pains, impaired digestion with a wide range of symptoms, emotional irritability, and disordered cognitive function.3 Without sufficient sleep, people become more easily confused and forgetful. Decision-making becomes flawed. It becomes much more difficult to analyze and comprehend the big picture, whatever the undertaking. If these symptoms sound all too familiar, the source of the problem may frequently be identified as not getting enough sleep.
Contrary to the six, five, or four hours of sleep a night that business “gurus” and “consultants” claim they thrive on, seven hours of nightly sleep is a basic requirement for the vast majority of people. Eight hours of sleep is great when you can get it. The question becomes, how in our very busy lives is it possible to get this amount of sleep? As much as we’d like a magic wand, personal discipline comes into play. For example, arising at 5:30 or 6 am means that we need to go to bed at 10:30 or 11 pm. Many may find that seven-and-a-half or eight hours of sleep per night works best for them.
A few notes about falling asleep:
- Your room should be cool and dark
- Avoid staring at computer screens and phones before bed
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day…even on weekends
- Know when you need to switch to non-caffeinated beverages
How Regular Chiropractic Care Can Improve the Quality of Sleep
What happens when we sleep is not under the control of our conscious selves; all our physiological mechanisms proceed on their own. Just as when we’re awake, our heart, lungs, and digestive organs operate independently of our conscious instructions. But if we’re not controlling these life-sustaining systems, what is? The nerve system, both when we’re asleep and awake. As our body’s master system, it makes sure that all the physiological systems are online, all the time.
But the nerve system itself requires maintenance and upkeep. That’s where regular chiropractic care enters the picture: it detects and corrects sources of nerve interference that would degrade the performance of our body’s master system. By helping to optimize spinal alignment and reducing the effects of nerve interference, regular chiropractic care helps us function efficiently and effectively. The result is good health in the present, and assistance with ongoing health and well-being in the future.
The key is to get the rest that’s right for you. Over time, you and all your family members will notice the difference, as each one begins to fulfill this necessary component of healthy living. The long-term result is good health, happiness, and enjoyment in life.
- Dulloo AG, et al: Nutrition, movement and sleep behaviours: their interactions in pathways to obesity and cardiometabolic diseases. Obesity Rev 18(Suppl S1):3-6, 2017
- Saunders TJ: Combinations of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep: relationships with health indicators in school-aged children and youth. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 41(6 Suppl 3):S283-S293, 2016
- Chambers AM: The role of sleep in cognitive processing: focusing on memory consolidation. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci 2017 Jan 3. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1433. [Epub ahead of print]