Posts Tagged ‘Sleep disorder

11
Nov
13

Fighting Back Against Insomnia


InsomniaDo you struggle to fall asleep at night?  Or do you find yourself wide awake at three in the morning staring up at the ceiling and wondering if you’ll fall back to sleep at all before your alarm goes off?  If you answered “yes”, you are not alone. Research has shown that up to 50 percent of the population suffers from sleep problems, with up to a third having struggled with it for at least a year.

The average adult requires a little over 8 hours of sleep each day.  However, very few people are able to manage that with lives that are more hectic than ever. Jobs, children and other obligations require us to be up with the birds and to go to bed far later than we would if we were following our own biological rhythm. A disruption to our circadian rhythm, which governs our hormone production, body temperature and sleep, can lead to insomnia.

We need adequate, restful sleep in order to perform at our best. Prolonged insomnia can cause mental fuzziness and interfere with how you perform your daily activities. It also increases your risk of depression, headaches, auto accidents, and can lead to substance abuse. Of course, worrying about the lack of sleep you are getting rarely helps you get more sleep! Stress, anxiety, and widespread use of coffee and alcohol are some of the greatest contributors to insomnia.

Learning how to manage stress effectively is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, and making some changes to your lifestyle may make a difference in the number of hours of sleep you get. Following are some strategies you can use:

  • Get regular exercise before dinner, which can help put your body in a restful state by bedtime. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this will likely make you restless.
  • Try to get out in the late afternoon sun as often as possible to stimulate melatonin release, which will help get your circadian rhythm back on track.
  • Use stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, which are great ways to help teach your mind and body to relax.
  • Caffeine and smoking keep the body stimulated. Try to avoid them from mid-afternoon on, and keep your consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
  • Eat a small snack of protein with a complex carbohydrate just before bed, such as peanut butter on a whole-grain cracker. It can keep your blood sugar from dipping too low and waking you up in the night.
  • Keep to the same sleeping and waking schedule every day and don’t change it by more than an hour on weekends.
  • Avoid television or computer use at least an hour before bedtime, as it stimulates the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
  • If you are lying awake for more than about 20 minutes, get up and go sit in another dimly lit room until you feel sleepy.

 

These strategies have proven useful for many people in getting them back to a regular sleeping rhythm. Give them a try — they may help you too!

 

 

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28
Nov
12

Circadian Rhythms: What They Mean for Your Health, Happiness and Performance


If you want to be in top form for that important meeting with a new client, it’s probably best not to arrange it for 2:00 in the afternoon.  Likewise, training for a marathon is not a good idea first thing in the morning if you want to reduce your risk of injury.

Our circadian rhythm (commonly referred to as our body clock) plays a large part in how we perform the various tasks that fill our lives from day to day.  While it is nearly impossible for most of us to schedule our obligations such as jobs, childcare, and daily errands to accommodate our body clock, we can still make small changes that will help us be healthier, happier and more productive.

So when is the best time to do certain things?  Here’s a short list:

Work – Different kinds of work each have an optimal time of day.  If you want to be sharp in your analytical thinking, late morning is best, peaking at around 10 am.  Our body temperature is lowest at about 5 am and gradually rises as the morning progresses, along with alertness and cognitive ability.  To jump-start this process, taking a warm shower first thing in the morning can help you become more alert earlier in the day.  Just be sure such tasks are finished by noon, when alertness begins to drop off.

However, if you need to solve a problem, the best time for creative thinking is in the evening when we begin to tire, according to Mareike Wieth, assistant professor of psychological sciences at Michigan’s Albion College and an author of a study published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning.  The study found that when subjects were required to solve problems requiring either analytical thinking or creative thinking, they solved the problems that required creativity far better at the time of day when they were not at their peak.

Naps – Many cultures in Europe have followed the tradition of the afternoon “siesta” for centuries, and for good reason.  We are naturally sleepy around 2 pm, so if you are able to take a nap around that time, it could help you be more alert for the rest of the day.  Studies have shown that a one-hour nap can boost alertness for the following 10 hours.  And a study performed on pilots found that a nap of about half an hour boosted performance by 34% and enhanced general alertness by 54%.  However, try to keep naps to 45 minutes or less, as if you sleep longer than that you may enter into slow-wave sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented for up to half an hour after you wake.

Studying – While it may be tempting to study late at night when it seems you have the most time, learning is best accomplished in the morning when cognitive activity is at its peak.  However, reviewing material you have already learned is done best just before going to bed.  Research has shown that sleeping after a task is performed improves recall.

Exercise – Physical performance is most enhanced and the risk of injury minimized between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm each day.  In addition, the lungs perform at 17.6% greater efficiency at 5:00 pm and muscle strength is 6% higher between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm than at other times of day.

Eating – If you would like to ensure you do not become obese, try limiting your eating times to when you are most alert and active.  In a study involving two groups of mice who were all given the same diet and amount of food, researchers found that mice who were allowed to eat at all times of day became obese, had contracted diabetes and liver disease, and had cholesterol levels twice as high as mice who only ate during an 8-hour period when they were most active.  So it’s best to eat your largest meal at midday and have a light supper early in the evening.

 

Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

 

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

03
Oct
12

Fighting Back Against Insomnia


Do you struggle to fall asleep at night?  Or do you find yourself wide awake at three in the morning staring up at the ceiling and wondering if you’ll fall back to sleep at all before your alarm goes off?  If you answered “yes”, you are not alone. Research has shown that up to 50 percent of the population suffers from sleep problems, with up to a third having struggled with it for at least a year.

The average adult requires a little over 8 hours of sleep each day.  However, very few people are able to manage that with lives that are more hectic than ever. Jobs, children and other obligations require us to be up with the birds and to go to bed far later than we would if we were following our own biological rhythm. A disruption to our circadian rhythm, which governs our hormone production, body temperature and sleep, can lead to insomnia.

We need adequate, restful sleep in order to perform at our best. Prolonged insomnia can cause mental fuzziness and interfere with how you perform your daily activities. It also increases your risk of depression, headaches, auto accidents, and can lead to substance abuse. Of course, worrying about the lack of sleep you are getting rarely helps you get more sleep! Stress, anxiety, and widespread use of coffee and alcohol are some of the greatest contributors to insomnia.

Learning how to manage stress effectively is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, and making some changes to your lifestyle may make a difference in the number of hours of sleep you get. Following are some strategies you can use:

  • Get regular exercise before dinner, which can help put your body in a restful state by bedtime. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this will likely make you restless.
  • Try to get out in the late afternoon sun as often as possible to stimulate melatonin release, which will help get your circadian rhythm back on track.
  • Use stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, which are great ways to help teach your mind and body to relax.
  • Caffeine and smoking keep the body stimulated. Try to avoid them from mid-afternoon on, and keep your consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
  • Eat a small snack of protein with a complex carbohydrate just before bed, such as peanut butter on a whole-grain cracker. It can keep your blood sugar from dipping too low and waking you up in the night.
  • Keep to the same sleeping and waking schedule every day and don’t change it by more than an hour on weekends.
  • Avoid television or computer use at least an hour before bedtime, as it stimulates the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
  • If you are lying awake for more than about 20 minutes, get up and go sit in another dimly lit room until you feel sleepy.

These strategies have proven useful for many people in getting them back to a regular sleeping rhythm. Give them a try — they may help you too!

 

If your spine keeps you up at night, call us at 919-484-1400. We can help!

Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.




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