March 04, 2020
Blossom Family Chiropractic

We can often put off going to bed because we feel that we have too much to accomplish in our day and that sleeping is taking up precious time. However, in reality good quality sleep is crucial to the development and restoration of our bodies and our nervous system.

We experience two types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which can be broken down further into three different stages). Your body will cycle through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep several times during a typical night, with increasingly longer, deeper REM periods occurring toward morning. 

Stage 1 non-REM sleep is the changeover from wakefulness to sleep. This period typically lasts a few minutes during which, your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow, and your muscles relax and you may experience occasional twitches.  Your brain waves will also begin to slow from their daytime rapid and high functioning routine.
Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep.  During this stage your heartbeat and breathing slow down, and your muscles relax even further.  Your body temperature drops and the eye movements stop.  Brain wave activity slows but is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity. 

Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night.  Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels, your muscles are relaxed and it is often difficult to awaken you.  Brain waves become even slower at this time. REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.  Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.  Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.  Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.  This is where most of our dreaming will occur, although some can
also occur in the non-REM sleep state.  The muscles in your arms and legs become temporarily paralysed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams.  As you age, you spend less of your sleeping time in the REM sleep state.

How much sleep is ideal, and what happens if you don’t get it?

Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which is essential to their growth and brain development. School-age children and teens on average need about 9.5 hours of sleep per night and most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. 

Impaired memory
As we sleep, our brain forms connections to help us process and remember new information, whilst cleaning out all the excess information we have acquired throughout the day. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact on both our short and long term memory.

Changes to our mood
Sleep deprivation has adverse affects on our mood and can increase irritability, make us more emotional and quick to anger (imagine a toddler in desperate need of a nap). Lack of sleep boosts a part of the brain that is known to be affected by depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

Weakened immunity
Sleep also plays an integral role in regulating the body’s immune system. Research suggests that the body produces fewer infection-fighting antibodies when you are sleep deprived, and studies have shown that individuals are more likely to catch a cold/virus when you’re sleep deprived. Getting consistently poor sleep can have some pretty serious consequences. Cutting sleep short by even just two to three hours a night over time has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and premature death.

How can we guarantee that we get a full and restful nights sleep?

Choosing the right pillow
This is something we often get asked about. A good pillow should support the neck and head by contouring to your exact shape, we recommend something similar to the complete sleeprrr pillow which is available at Blossom Family Chiropractic to purchase. This ensures that weight is distributed evenly through each vertebrae. 

For people who sleep on their back, a low profile pillow will provide the best support to the bodies natural neck curve.

For people more comfortable sleeping on their side, its crucial that the spine is kept in its natural alignment. This is why we recommend a thicker pillow with adjustable inserts that can added or removed depending on the individual.

For the tummy sleepers, this position is not ideal as it creates excess stress on the neck and back. As with any habit, tummy sleeping can be hard to break so in the mean time a relatively flat pillow would be best.

Mattress choice
This is just as important, especially why you think that it will be used every night for 7+ hours for 10 years. Our colleagues at Regal Sleep Solutions stock amazing mattresses designed and tailor made by a chiropractor and offer unique appointment to Blossom members to get yourself checked for the best mattress for you. Ask us about it at your next appointment and we can arrange it for you.

The important factor to consider in a mattresses is that they ideally have different density springs to support the body and keep your spine in perfect alignment.

If you are in need of any advice or have any concerns about your sleep, pillow, or mattress please don’t hesitate to ask us your next appointment

Need to book an appointment? Click here

Yours in health, 

Dr Giacinta Spadaro

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