As chiropractors, we consider ‘sleep’ as one of the essential pillars of good health. Essential, because as humans, we simply cannot live without it. It allows our body to grow, evolve and heal which are all necessary processes for us to thrive. If we don’t get enough of it, our bodies will surely be thrown off balance.
Two of the most evident signs that you are not getting enough are, (1) if you are yawning all day or (2) if you are developing dark circles or eyebags. However, there are also other signs which are less obvious like:
- You have difficulty concentrating during the day
- You experience brain fog
- You get headaches
- You generally feel tired
- You are drinking more caffeine
- You are craving frequently for junk foods
- You feel more stressed out and irritable than usual
- Your skin is breaking out
Being aware of these less obvious signs will alert you that your body might be out of balance and you need to get more sleep.
‘Sleep quality’ over ‘Sleep quantity’
A good way of monitoring your sleep is through apps and fitness trackers (we are fans of Fitbit and Apple Watch). Just wear your tracker when you sleep, and while sleeping it will measure your actual sleep quantity and sleep quality.
One may get confused and think, “Isn’t it just the same?” Well the the simple answer would be no, because they are actually different from each other.
It is easy to measure sleep quantity because you will just have to determine if you have met the recommended amount of sleep per night which is 8 hours for adults. If you just slept for 6 hours then you know you didn’t get the right amount.
Measuring sleep quality, on the other hand, is much more complicated because it is measured by how well you sleep. You get high points for your sleep score if you meet the following criteria:
- If you fall asleep as soon as you close your eyes, or within 30 minutes or less (the faster the better).
- If you can sleep continuously throughout the night (ideally you should not wake up in the middle of the night).
- If you do wake up, you don’t have trouble falling back asleep.
- You feel recharged when you wake up the following day.
- Overall, you were able to reach your recommended sleep quantity.
As you can see, sleep quantity is just one aspect of sleep quality, but it does not show you the entire picture. It is not as simple as just assuming if you laid in bed for eight hours, you will have a full restful sleep. Most of the time, quantity does not define quality. In fact, a lot of people get surprised once they wake up in the morning and see that they have a sleep score of only 50-60% even if they slept the recommended amount of hours.
Needless to say if you fail to meet the other criteria, then chances are your sleep quality will be poor, making your sleep less restorative than it should be.
What Gets in the Way of High-Quality Sleep?
Physical, mental, and chemical factors are the primary causes of poor sleep quality.
Physical – It will be difficult to fall asleep if you are dealing with any type of pain (headaches, neck and back pain), or any physical condition that keeps you awake at night (like sleep apnea, bruxism, acid reflux, frequent urination). You also need to look at your sleeping environment (eg. light, temperature, noise, level of comfort) or if your favorite sleeping posture might be affecting your ability to sleep.
Mental – If you have trouble getting your mind to relax, it could be due to too much stress, anxiety, overthinking, and overuse of gadgets.
Chemical – If you are taking certain medications, drinking caffeine, and eating late at night it can disturb your sleep.
There are so many other things that can affect sleep quality, we only listed the common ones here but if you need to have a more detailed explanation, please see this article Unexpected Reasons You Still Wake Up Tired (Even After Getting 8 Hours of Sleep)
What can I do to improve my Sleep Quantity and Sleep Quality?
The best way to do this is of course, to address the physical, mental, and chemical factors that are affecting your sleep.
Easiest to do: Make adjustments to your sleep environment. If your mattress and bedding have been around for ages then maybe it’s now the time to invest in new ones. Try to find the most comfortable setup for your sleeping space and get accessories that will help you fall asleep easier.
Needs a bit more effort: Switching to a healthier lifestyle. We know that it’s easier said than done, but the changes that you have to do don’t have to be drastic. Small adjustments like reducing your caffeine intake, eating your dinner an hour earlier, and adding a bit of exercise and meditation to your routine, are a good starting point.
When you need a professional to help you: If you are suffering from pain or if you think you have an underlying condition that is impacting your sleep, then this needs to be addressed from the source— something chiropractors are good at!
Our team would like you to be well-rested and pain-free! Please discuss your sleeping issues with our team as soon as possible so that we can provide the type of care that works for you.
Schedule your appointment now 📅
call or text 022 403 1568 or book online HERE.
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