Monday, January 11, 2010


Zzzzzzz……..why we need a good nights sleep, and tips to improve your sleep

With longer working hours, the internet, TV and other distractions of a modern life, more and more people are finding it difficult to turn off their internal mental chatter and get a full night’s sleep.

Beyond the bleary, blood shot eyes, a lack of sleep may have wide-ranging effects - it may make you cranky, moody, short tempered and less able to cope with stress. It may even trigger over-eating! When you’re sleep deprived, you can be less alert, your decision-making and performance can deteriorate and you may not even realise it. Sometimes you can get so used to sleeping less that you don’t attribute these things to a lack of sleep!

So, how much do we need? Generally, eight hours of sleep is considered to be a ‘good night’s sleep’. However, being the diverse creatures that we are, we know that this isn’t the case for everyone and some people need more or less sleep. And, if you suffer from difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, you are considered to have a ‘sleep problem’ of some sort.

Short-term Sleeplessness can last from a few nights to a few weeks. It usually arises from an event that causes worry, anxiety or excitement (e.g. wedding day or starting a new job).

Chronic Sleeplessness can develop from poor sleeping habits (e.g. having children who wake during the night or irregular sleeping patterns caused by shift work) and anxiety about sleep.

It can also be caused by distressing events such as divorce or bereavement. If this is the case, you may wish to seek counselling.

Common causes of Insomnia and sleeplessness

Medications – such as blood pressure medication or asthma medication

Environmental changes – travel or jet lag

Stressful events – life changes, grief, conflicts or pressures at work
Psychological conditions – such as anxiety

Hormonal imbalances – menopausal and menstrual changes (your Naturopath may be able to help normalize hormonal imbalances naturally)

Faulty sleeping habits – excessive daytime naps, caffeine and nicotine consumption late in the day

Not having a peaceful sleeping environment


Establish a regular bedtime by going to bed at the same time every night.

Get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends.

Before going to bed, do something that relaxes you and takes your mind off any worries.

Don’t watch TV, read a book or think about problems in bed. If you must do these things, go to another room to do it until you become sleepy.

Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, cool and conducive to sleeping.

If you’re a worrier, write problems down before going to bed, together with possible solutions.

Don’t stay awake in bed. If you aren’t asleep within 15 minutes of getting into bed, get up and do something relaxing until you become sleepy again.

Avoid alcohol – its sedative actions are short-lived, meanwhile your bladder fills and it’s time to get up again. Alcohol often leads to a broken nights sleep.

Your Chiropractor may also help you, as interference to your nervous system from spinal imbalances can also effect sleep patterns, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments can be extremely beneficial zzzzzz

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