Why is sleep important?
Contrary to popular belief, our bodies don’t ‘shut off’ when we sleep. In reality, we are working hard to restore and rejuvenate, consolidate memories, grow muscle, repair tissue, synthesize hormones and support immune function while we ‘catch some Z’s’.
If you’ve been listening to your Chiropractor, you’ll know that getting regular adjustments support improved immune system function, but did you know that for good immunity you also need to get adequate rest?
Cytokines are a type of protein which form part of our bodies immune defence by targeting infection and inflammation. Cytokines are produced and released during sleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, your body makes fewer Cytokines and reduces its ability to defend against bacteria and viruses.
It’s not just how much sleep we get that matters, it’s the quality of the sleep we get.
So, what are the ingredients of a good night’s sleep?
Most adults need 7-9 hours sleep per night.
Keep bed times and wake-up times as consistent as possible to allow your body clock to create a sleep rhythm.
Do more relaxing activities the hour before you go to bed, and stay away from phone, computer and TV screens.
Avoid caffeine for at least 4 hours before bed time, longer if you are sensitive to it.
Try not to go to bed on a full stomach, or hungry! Eating a few hours before bed is best.
Naps can be helpful to catch up on missed sleep, but avoid them in the late afternoon, or if you find they prevent you going to sleep easily at your regular bed time.
Getting plenty of sunlight during the day can help regulate hormones which help with your circadian rhythm.
A supportive mattress and pillow will help you sleep comfortably, and prevent some health concerns which can be caused or exacerbated by poor sleep posture.
If you think your pillow isn’t helping you be properly supported for sleep, speak to one of our Chiropractors about a free no-obligation pillow fit in the clinic. All our Chiropractors recognise the importance of good sleep in supporting your Chiropractic care and health in general.
Scientists agree there is still a lot we don’t know about what our bodies do while we sleep, but they do agree that getting enough of it is vital… for physical and mental health.
Better sleep = A healthier life!