Sleep – how much do we need?

Ahhh sleep. It is comically one of the things we look most forward to. Some days, when we wake up from sleeping we are already looking forward to our next nap or when we can crawl back into bed. While we find sleep as the perfect chance to really relax and unwind from the busy day, our bodies are actually very active. While we are asleep, our bodies are healing, restoring, growing, and strengthening. Slumber is responsible for our wellbeing and we need adequate rest for optimal health.

The big question, how much sleep do we need?

Sleep is one of the most researched topics in health. While research cannot specify exactly how much rest each person needs because we are all individuals. Age, gender, weight, diet, and occupations are all just a few factors that go into the determination of what is considered adequate for you. However, research is able to give general guidelines simply based on age. According to the

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School-age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours

Tips to improve sleep

  • Set a schedule
    • Pick a bedtime and go to bed at that time
    • Wake up at the same time every day
    • Even on weekends stick to your schedule
    • Avoid hitting snooze!
      • Post snooze sleep is not beneficial sleep
      • It can make you feel more tired!
    • Establish a bedtime routine
      • Bathe/shower
      • Avoid screen time
      • Take deep, cleansing breaths
    • Exercise
      • Physical exercise increased sleep quality and duration
      • Find a time of day that exercise is right for you
        • If exercise revs you up, avoid late-night workouts
        • If exercise exhausts you, late-night workouts may just knock you out
      • Calming stretching such as yoga can be beneficial to relax
    • Avoid
      • Alcohol
      • Caffeine
      • Pop/Soda
      • Chocolate
    • Avoid electronics
      • Blue light emitted by devices inhibits melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle
      • Avoid technology for 30 minutes before bed
      • Make the bedroom a technology-free zone!
        • No TV’s
        • No cell phones
        • No digit readers

Downfalls of sleep deprivation

As listed above, most adults are aiming for 7-9 hours of sack time per night. However, most actually get less than 6! Sleep deprivation can affect a variety of aspects of our life. It can cause appearances to change by giving dark puffy circles under the eyes. Decreased slumber time can increase water accumulation, increasing swelling. Sleeping less than this amount can lead to increased hunger and result in higher rates of obesity. Missing sleep can cause a lack of focus and determination, impairing success at work and at home. Inadequate slumber time can lead to a lag in the immune system, increasing the chances of catching a cold.

Pain and its interference with rest

Pain triggers poor sleep quality and shortened duration. People who are in pain sleep in a lighter stage of sleep, frequently waking up through the night. When deep sleep is not achieved, healing and restoration are not achieved to help alleviate the pain intensity.

How chiropractic can help

Chiropractic care can help improve sleep quality and duration. Misalignments within the spine can lead to interference of signals getting to the brain. When signals are not being communicated clearly, stress upon the body increases. Increased stress can lead to a decrease in sleep. By correcting those misalignments and allowing the body to communicate, rest quality can be improved. Now, are you daydreaming about crawling into bed and getting good quality rest?  Contact Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic today and work toward making that daydream a reality!


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