To Your Health
August, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 08)
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Another big key to all of this is making sure you are adjusted regularly by your chiropractor. Having your neck, shoulders, back and hips adjusted regularly will not only help to keep them healthy biomechanically, but help keep stress off the joints when you are sleeping. Less stress means less injury and pain.

Talking about sleep and sleep habits with my patients is one of the most important parts of my treatment plan. How you sleep can negatively affect the way your chiropractic adjustments hold and can prolong pain and healing time. Sleep is something we take for granted ... until you don't get enough of it. If you're experiencing sleep problems, talk to your doctor and evaluate whether your mattress, pillow and sleep position are to blame.

Don't Skimp on Sleep

Who's got time to sleep? Among other culprits, we can blame technology. Consider that before the introduction of cell phones, blogging, text messaging, social media sites, video games and even cable television, people generally went to bed earlier, and for several reasons. First, without those technological "distractions" to occupy countless hours of late-night time, there was nothing to keep you from lying down and dozing off. Second, those distractions overstimulate your brain, make it more difficult to sleep once you decide it's time for bed.

sleep and texting - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark No big deal, right? That's the world we live in. Consider the some of the potential short- and long-term health consequences of poor sleep, courtesy of WebMD:

Short-Term Consequences

  • Worse performance: Anyone who's had a late night and then rushed to work the next morning knows that it's a little harder to focus and stay sharp, particularly as the day wears on.
  • Worse memory: Your ability to think and process information declines in the absence of quality sleep.
  • Higher injury risk: Excessive sleepiness contributes to higher risk of occupational injuries, not to mention automobile accidents.

Long-Term Consequences

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Depression
  • Poor quality of life

Remember, poor sleep, particularly if it becomes chronic, could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so talk to your doctor if you're having trouble sleeping so they can help determine what's causing it and then do something about it!

Kevin M. Wong, DC, a 1996 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, Calif., practices full-time in Orinda, Calif. He is also an instructor for Foot Levelers, Inc.