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Sleep Deprivation

February 2nd, 2016 9:31am

Sleep Deprivation

Many people in today’s fast paced society have a love/hate relationship with sleep and that relationship can be even worse with chronic pain patients. According to the CDC, some 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from sleep disorders or the inability to stay awake and alert.

Sleep deprivation not only makes us foggy and grouchy but lowers sex drive and jeopardizes our immune function. Here are some surprising - and serious - facts about sleep deprivation:

  • Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep lead to accidents and injuries on the job.
  • Sleep loss makes it more difficult to learn efficiently, hurting cognitive processes like attention, alertness and concentration.
  • A 2007 study of 10,000 people showed that those with insomnia - the most common sleep disorder - were five times as likely to develop depression as those without. Depression and insomnia feed into each other, each one making the other worse.
  • Sleep deprivation makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off. A 2004 study found that people who sleep less than six hours a night were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
  • Sleep deprivation can also stimulate cravings for sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.

Making sleep a priority is one of the most important steps one can take for better health. We have some ideas to help:

  • Turn lights down at night before bed, this will help signal to your body and brain that it is time to sleep. That means turn off that bright computer at least 2 hours before bed. Candle light is a wonderful way to signal to your brain you are about to relax and wind down.
  • Avoid watching stressful shows or the news before bed. If you really need to watch something at night, make it a movie without commercials which tend to be over stimulating.
  • Take a warm bath or shower and drop a few drops of lavender to help relieve stress.
  • Create a gratitude journal. Focusing on the things in your life that are going well before bed can help relax your mind.
  • Be patient with yourself and your sleep. Changing your sleep habits may take a bit of time. Be patient and keep at it. Don’t give up on your sleep!

The advice and information provided herein is for educational purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

Written By: Dr. Chrissy Christian-Stamm, DC

 

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