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Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. Importantly, failure to obtain sufficient restful sleep will negatively impact every aspect of one's physiological and cognitive capabilities and functioning.1, 2
Sleep itself and the process of sleep have been celebrated throughout the centuries by the world's greatest poets. In "To Sleep", John Keats described the "soft embalmer of the still midnight". "How to Sleep", by Philip Larkin, described how "minds are wiped calm as sea-leveled sands". And William Blake, in "Cradle Song", declared "Sleep sleep beauty bright, Dreaming in the joys of night". These few examples highlight the inspiration that poets and other artists derive from the marvels of the gift of sleep.
But despite the words of the poets, we generally take sleep for granted, usually erring on the side of getting too little sleep. Many people take pride in and even brag about their seeming ability to get things done and meet all the demands of their day on five or six hours of sleep per night. However, what these "hard-chargers" fail to disclose is their need for four or more cups of coffee every day, their irritability and high blood pressure, and their chronically dysfunctional gastrointestinal system. As with exercise and diet, we may be able to fail to fulfill our body's requirement for sufficient restful sleep for a certain number of weeks or even months, but the impact of not taking care of ourselves with almost certainly catch up with us in the not-too-distant future.
Sleeping the appropriate amount of hours makes all one's other activities possible. By metaphorically resetting the biological clock on heart rate, respiration, hormonal function, immune system performance, and digestive functioning, sufficient restful sleep gets us ready for the next day's round of engagements.3 The basic average sleep requirement of eight hours makes this global biological reset possible. Some people may do well on an average of 7 hours of restful sleep per night. Others require nine hours of sleep to be fully refreshed. Critically, each of us needs to acknowledge our authentic sleep requirement and make sure to obtain that amount of sleep on a regular basis.
Regular chiropractic care assists us in fulfilling our healthy lifestyle activities, including helping us to obtain sufficient restful sleep. By detecting, analyzing, and correcting sources of spinal dysfunction and nerve interference, regular chiropractic care helps ensure optimal functioning of the nerve system, our body's master system. Regular chiropractic care reduces and removes musculoskeletal causes of nerve irritability and helps provide an environment in which we can go to sleep comfortably and sleep consistently through the night. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps us achieve our healthy lifestyle goals and improve our long-term health and well-being.
1. Hombali A, Seow E, Yuan Q, et al: Prevalence and correlates of sleep disorder symptoms in psychiatric disorders. Psychiatry Res. 2018 Jul 6. pii: S0165-1781(18)30268-3. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.07.009.
2. Andersen ML, Araujo P, Frange C, et al: Sleep disturbance and pain: a tale of two common problems. Chest. 2018 Jul 27. pii: S0012-3692(18)31113-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.07.019.
3. García-Perdomo HA, Zapata-Copete J, Rojas-Cerón CA: Sleep duration and risk of all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2018 Jul 30:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S2045796018000379.
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