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Sleep Well My Friend

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.

-Wiliam Blake

As a chiropractor, my singular focus is the health and well being of my patients. My daily work centres around the assessment and treatment of muscles, joints and nerves. The musculoskeletal system, however, does not exist in a vacuum but rather in the context of the overall health of the person. It is therefore imperative that I take into account and address the three pillars of a person's health-exercise, nutrition and sleep. Exercise has been written on extensively in these pages and nutrition is to come. This post will centre on sleep.

Sleep is vitally important for our well being and health. When we sleep our bodies are busy healing and rejuvenating. Sleep allows our physiologic systems remove waste products of metabolism and injury. It is when we sleep that healthy tissues are rebuilt. It is therefore key to have the proper amount and good quality of sleep to recover from injuries and prevent pain from becoming chronic. Science backs this up.

Research has shown that when comparing healthy subjects to chronic pain patients that healthy ones were twice as likely to sleep well compared to those in pain. In fact, a 2005 study in the journal Spine showed that 73% of chronic pain patients met criteria for moderate to severe insomnia. Many studies have established that in inverse relationship exists between pain and sleep. In other word as pain goes up, sleep goes down and as sleep goes up, pain goes down. Think of it as a a pain/sleep teeter totter.

So...How much sleep do I need?

Sleep needs depend considerably based on your age because at each stage of life our physiology is different. The following are internationally accepted guidelines.

  • Newborn Babies 14-17 hours

  • Infants/Toddlers 11-14 hours

  • School Age Kids 9-11 hours

  • Younger Adults 7-9 hours

  • Older Adults 7-8 hours

I hope you have enjoyed this post. Keep your eye on this site next month for ten tips on how to get better sleep.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you stay happy and healthy.

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