17 Sep Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation epidemic!
In a time where stress levels are at an all time high, technology has captured everyones attention, reducing our exposure to natural sunlight outdoors; it has comes as no surprise that people are finding it hard to get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation, by definition is “the condition that occurs if you don’t get enough sleep.” What qualifies as “enough” sleep? On average the this usually means anything between about 7-9 hours per night for adults, however this may vary with every individual.
You’re at greater risk of many different health problems if you’re someone that regularly gets less that the recommended amount of sleep. These health problems can include:
- Brain fog and fatigue
- Increased susceptibility to accidents or injuries
- Loss of productivity at work
- Irritability and moodiness
- Relationship problems
- Increased risk of death due to problems affecting your heart and immune system
Causes of sleep deprivation:
Adults who suffer from sleep deprivation are typically caused by these following factors:
- A disorder that disrupts sleep (sleep apnea, pain from an injury or something like a thyroid disorder)
- Elevated stress levels
- Highly demanding schedule
- Adverse effects of medications or stimulants
- Use of other stimulants (drugs) or alcohol consumption
- Poor diet choices that can lead to blood sugar fluctuations
- Eating times (odd eating hours or eating not long before bedtime)
- Pregnancy and other hormonal changes
Conventional treatments options:
It’s always best to discuss your individual condition with your medical doctor for any underlying causes of the condition. For those diagnosed with sleep deprivation, treatments without any serious underlying cause typically include:
- Using natural supplements or natural herbs to manage stress
- Taking recommended SSRI medication from your doctor to control anxiety and other mental health issues
- Treating various dietary conditions and changing lifestyle that could cause sleep apnea, obesity, acid reflux and other problems.
- Managing pain conditions with treatments such as chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage and exercises.
- Sometimes prescribing sleeping aid drugs or sedatives when other options have not been helpful.
Natural treatment options
- Managing stress: Some common and simple way of managing stress in one’s life involves mediation, box breathing or other breathing techniques, practicing yoga, or even playing an instrument
- Limit/reduce blue light exposure at night: Limit your exposure to blue light 1 hour before bed, try instead to read a book instead of using your electronics devices.
- Increase exposure to natural light during the morning & day: In order to regulate our circadian rhythm (internal 24-hour body cock), it is important to get adequate natural light in the mornings for approximately 10-30mins at the least to in order to set up our circadian rhythm to help us sleep at night. The exposure is also important for the increase of natural production of Vitamin D.
- Exercise: Maintaining daily physical activities for at least 30-60 minutes, if possible outdoors, is a great way to promote better sleep. The best time to exercise is in the morning or during the day to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which will help you feel calmer and sleepier at night.
- Adjust your diet: Food can cause disruption of sleep through blood sugar spikes from high simple carbohydrates or sugary food consumed after dinner or before bed. Eating more complex carbohydrates such as nuts, seeds, veggies or a source of protein like some frozen unsweetened yogurt may be a better substitute if you’re feeling peckish after a meal. Additional, limiting any caffeine after 2-3 p.m., as it can have lingering effect in the later hours. For additional support, supplements like magnesium can be consumed 30 mins – 1 hour before bed to help with muscle relaxation and improve sleep.
- Create a “Bedtime Routine”: Our body thrives on schedules and predictable routines. Thus it is ideal to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at a similar time every morning. Maintaining a dark and cooler room at night is believed to help decrease your core body temperature, which initiates sleepiness. Other options to help you feel more relaxed: are use of essential oils that are calming, drinking herbal teas, stretching or a warm shower.
Do not underestimate what a good night sleep can do for you! If you are constantly feeling fatigued try these natural treatment options to help improve your lifestyle and health. If you are continuing to feel the same symptoms seek a health practitioner to assess for underlying health conditions.
Post by: Chiropractor Steven Tran