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Posted on 04-18-2017

Many of my patients complain that they do not sleep well. As a practicing chiropractor in San Luis Obispo, it is important to find out WHY this is occurring and then offer support where ever possible. A key question to figuring out the "WHY" is determining when the restlessness or insomnia is occurring--Is it during the first 3-4 hours or in the wee hours of the morning later part of the sleep cycle?

If the insomnia has been happening for some time, this can cause your body to be under stress all the time which creates all kinds of problems that lead to many of the chronic diseases that are rampant today.

Research has shown that seven hours per night seems to be the sweet spot for regenerative sleep. Children and teenagers need a few additional hours each night however once adulthood has been reached, sleep needs seem to stabilize for the rest of life.

But when the sleep cycle becomes disrupted, especially for days or weeks at a time, the mind becomes altered and we become desperate for a solution.

Is there a pill you can take?

The pharmaceutical industry, once again, has come to the rescue with several classes of drugs designed to induce sleep, however, they are not as helpful as they appear.

Over 30 million prescriptions per year are written for Ambien. But unlike the commercial advertising, Ambien does not actually make you go to sleep but instead, puts you into a trance-like state which can lead to abnormal behaviors such as sleepwalking, driving while asleep and mindlessly eating during the night with absolutely no recollection of doing so.

But do they really help you feel better?

Well, here are the stats:

  • Ambien (and Lunesta) helped people fall asleep 20 minutes faster than the placebo
  • They only added an average of 34 minutes to the total sleep time

  • Taking 132 or more doses of sleeping pills in one year increases the risk of lung, lymphoma, prostate and colon cancers by 35%

So they’re not all their cracked up to be!

Top 10 Tips for Sound Sleep

There are a number of factors at play when sleep is elusive, however, common sense will dictate a few of the most basic factors that should be considered.

  1. Managing stress and the stress response with herbs such as Rehmannia and Ashwaganda, both found in the Adrenal Tonic® we carry from Standard Process.
  2. Ensure stable blood sugar levels before going to bed (i.e. no late-night snacks or sugary treats after dinner); Some people will do well to consume a small amount of protein and fat just before bed.
  3. Discontinuing the use of blue-light devices for 1 hour before bed including computers, cell phones and even television.
  4. Create ‘dusk’ inside the house, especially in the bedroom using low lights and relaxing music. Pandora has a channel called "Sleep Station Radio."
  5. Ensure room temperature is at or near 65 degrees for optimal sleep.
  6. Encourage regular exercise as a source of stress-relief and to increase the body’s need for rejuvenative sleep.
  7. Avoid any kind of caffeine after 2pm.
  8. Say no to alcoholic beverages in the evening; they help engage sleep but can cause disrupted sleep in the sleep cycle.
  9. Ensure optimal hormone levels, especially for menopausal-aged women.
  10. Consider a mild calmative product such as Min-Tran® that we carry at Powersource that helps maintain emotional balance.

Given proper nutrition and the right lifestyle, the human body has an amazing ability to right itself. On your next visit we can talk about which of these products are right for you. Just ask me!

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