Image credit((Source: “Exhausted cat getting some beauty sleep,” CC0 Creative Commons License via Pixabay »))
If you suffer from insomnia or other sleep related issues, Hands On Healing offers hands-on therapy designed to help you rest more peacefully. We’re located in Montgomery, Alabama.
Getting a good night’s rest is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, which should come as no surprise given we spend almost a third of our lives asleep.
Sleeping is the time we spend recuperating from the stress of each day, regenerating and restoring our bodily well being.
Yet, despite how instinctively we have slept throughout our lives, there have been numerous occasions that clients have asked us questions concerning sleep.
And those questions are just the tip of iceberg.
The good news? A little effort can go a long way toward getting a better night’s sleep and leaving you feeling more refreshed each morning.
With many people having very few resources to draw good information from, the public is often left feeling a bit tired of not knowing much about sleeping.
With a little time and effort the average person could find quite a bit of information on sleep studies through the internet, but some of the info might end up coming back contradictory.
One study will show a strong correlation between sleeping on your back and good health, while another might state that sleeping on your back could increase the blockage of your airway, leading to snoring and poor breathing.
So what should someone do? In the end, there really isn’t a “one option fits all” circumstance for sleeping.
Much like other activities that we are involved in each day, everyone’s body and patterns are simply too different to define a single set of circumstances that work universally.
There are several things that can interfere with sleep, including:
Addressing these issues can help you can get some well-deserved rest.
Do you sleep LIKE a log?
Or does it feel like you sleep ON a log?
Your mattress might be the culprit!
If your bed isn’t leaving you with a sense of physical and mental well being when waking each day, consider the following:
The general recommendation by sleep researchers is to purchase a new mattress every 8-10 years.
Some mattresses can be potentially excluded. Examples include a “sleep number” bed where the mattress support can be changed or a specifically-designed orthopedic bed for a health condition, in which case it’s always best to consult a medical professional.
We’re not referring to non-REM sleep!
Your room and your brain need to be ready to sleep as well, which brings us to light pollution!
This is a relatively new phenomenon that mankind hasn’t actually adapted to and likely won’t for several generations to come.
Humans have become hardwired over time to associate darkness to sleep. The human brain actually releases hormones in response to darkness to regulate our sleep and instruct the body to conduct cellular repair while we rest.
Studies that investigate the effect of modern light pollution on the brain indicate we are inhibiting our own brain chemistry which in turn could be making us really unhealthy.
When it comes to light pollution, the biggest culprits are modern TV’s, energy efficient light bulbs, cell phones, and laptops, as these devices put out very high levels of “blue light.”
Research studies of people exposed to blue light saw a marked decrease in the level of their melatonin release, which is the brain’s primary hormone for sleep regulation. It has even been suggested by medical researchers that lack of healthy melatonin has strong connections to the formations of some types of cancer!
Lowering your light exposure before and during sleep can have a remarkable impact of your overall health.
Be sure to turn off lights that may shine into your room as well. Hang blinds and drapes to block light from outside, and do everything you can to stop using electronic devices 3 hours before bedtime.
If you’re waking up in pain or experiencing pain while trying to sleep, you’re probably not getting the rest you need.
This is where we commonly hear the phrase “I must have just slept wrong.” Or the all too common “I’ve got a crick in my neck.”
In general, most people reach this conclusion because from what they can recall, they went to sleep without pain and woke up with pain, thus something must have occurred while sleeping that brought the pain about.
While this seems to be the most logical conclusion, the reason for discomfort could very well be what happened BEFORE you went to sleep.
During sleep, the average person does little to no physical movement, aside from occasionally turning over or adjusting.
So if we’re otherwise still when sleeping, what could cause the body to develop physical discomfort?
Sleep is the time that the body will use to heal and restore much of the strain that we inflict on ourselves during the day. This process brings about inflammation and guarding, wherein the body uses muscles to form resistance against movements that we might make when waking that could continue to strain the body.
While there are times that a turbulent night of tossing and turning could contribute to discomfort in the morning, we generally have already set ourselves up for pain before even shutting our eyes at night.
The patterns of poor movement and disorganized posture that we compensate for each day can only be tolerated by the body for so long.
Eventually, seemingly out of nowhere, we wake up with a pain or problem that doesn’t seem related to anything other than a poor night’s sleep. This is true of other discomfort that develops while sleeping, such as tingling in the hands or feet only a few hours after lying down to rest.
There is a direct relationship between the amount of time that blood flow or nerve compression occurs and when paresthesia (tingling and numbness) sets in.
The longer the compression has been in place, the longer it takes before the tingling comes about. A 20 minute compression could show signs of tingling within as little as a few minutes, like sitting poorly in a chair.
But if a poor pattern of sitting was held for hours at a time, it could take a few hours for tingling to develop, meaning that the irritation that’s waking you up in the middle of the night was brought about while you were awake and functioning instead of asleep.
If you’re lying incorrectly on your arms at night, some tingling might occur when you move about in the bed.
However, our daily patterns of movement and postural alignment are the biggest hurdles we face each day. This is why we encourage our clients to take time each night to stretch and improve their movement habits so that sleep can lead to the proper repair and restoration of the body and enable you to begin each day with a spring in your step.
By following these tips, we hope you begin feeling a bit more rested when rolling out of bed.
If so, we applaud you for taking steps to improve your health, and we hope to see that continue.