Archives September 2011

How to Get the Sleep You Need

As some of you may now know, I am a new uncle. Watching my nephew Alexandro learn and experience life is fascinating and there is a lot we can learn from the little guy. Sleeping, he does a lot of, and my sister and brother in law don’t get as much of. Sleep patterns are crucial for health. For thousands of years, our sleep patterns were dictated by the time of the day the sun would set, and darkness and exhaustion from a day of physical labor would sit in. Times have changed and our sleeping patterns are suffering this sudden shift. “We’re shifting to a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week society, and as a result we’re increasingly not sleeping like we used to”

Sleeping Like a Baby

Sleeping Like a Baby!



Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body

-An analysis of a nationally representative sample of nearly 10,000 adults found that those between the ages of 32 and 49 who sleep less than seven hours a night are significantly more likely to be obese.
-Reports from the Harvard-run Nurses’ Health Study that has linked insufficient or irregular sleep to increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
-Physiologic studies suggest that a sleep deficit may put the body into a state of high alert, increasing the production of stress hormones and driving up blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
-In addition, studies show sleep-deprived people tend to develop problems regulating their blood sugar, which may put them at increased risk for diabetes.

Lets Discuss Solutions

Calm yourself with meditation and other relaxation techniques.

When done effectively, as little as 10 minutes of daily meditation can help your clear a cluttered. There are many different types of meditation, including tai chi, and yoga for those active, and guided muscle relaxation and guided meditation.
Click here to learn Guided Muscle Relaxation
Click here for a link to my favorite Free Podcast for Guided Meditation.

Massage
Gentle massage is also beneficial for both insomnia and chronic pain. In a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, participants who had two 30-minute massages a week for five weeks experienced better sleep and less lower back pain. Don’t have time or money for massage, try self myofascial release using a foam roller. Click here for instruction and for a free ”
Foam Roll Handout

Sufficient Exercise

Regular exercise can improve both pain and sleep issues. However, activity within three hours of bedtime can keep you up, so the earlier in the day you work out, the better. For pain, the best exercise is moderate and low-impact. Try walking, yoga, or swimming, cycling, etc.

Additional tips for improving sleep include:

-Forgo long daytime naps or limit yourself to a brief 10- to 20-minute nap in the afternoon.
-Take a warm bath or shower before bed to wind down.
-Lull yourself to sleep with relaxation CDs that play a babbling brook, gentle waves, or other soothing sounds.
-Remove all light-producing appliances from your bedroom, including the TV; if you must have them, choose ones that emit red rather than blue light.
-Abstain from alcohol in the evening; it may help you fall asleep, but the effects of a cocktail quickly backfire, disrupting sleep cycles a few hours into the night.
-Run a fan or other non-specific white noise machine in your bedroom to dampen street or other sounds.
-Avoid caffeine, which disrupts sleep patterns; if you must have a caffeine boost, enjoy it before noon.
-Do not exercise or eat within three hours of going to bed.
-Avoid utilizing any light producing electronics 2 hours before bed (TV, computer, cell phone)
-Journal, write down your day and your thoughts
-Get healthy fats in your diets, omega 3’s
-Try and watch the sun go down

There are a number of treatments available, including chiropractic, physical therapy, and talk therapy. Consider tracking your sleep habits in a sleep journal. This simple tool can give your doctor valuable information about your quality of sleep and how many hours you log each night.

Dr. Todd

Guided Muscle Relaxation

Practicing progressive muscle relaxation

Guided Muscle Relaxation


Before practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation, consult with your doctor if you have a history of muscle spasms, back problems, or other serious injuries that may be aggravated by tensing muscles.

Most progressive muscle relaxation practitioners start at the feet and work their way up to the face. For a sequence of muscle groups to follow, see the box below.

* Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
* (You can lay on top of a foam roller along your spine and make sure to support your head
* Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths from the diaphragm (belly button)
* When you’re relaxed and ready to start, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
* Lay on your back with arms out to your side and palms up, with a slight bend to your knees (or pillow below them)
* Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Take a deep breath and Hold for a count of 10.
* Exhale and relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
* Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
* When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
* Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
* It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Sequence

The most popular sequence runs as follows:

1. Right foot
2. Left foot
3. Right calf
4. Left calf
5. Right thigh
6. Left thigh
7. Hips and buttocks
8. Stomach
9. Chest
10. Back
11. Right arm and hand
12. Left arm and hand
13. Neck and shoulders
14. Face