Knowing the connection between chiropractic care and sleep can minimize those restless nights and help you feel rested and rejuvenated every morning. For those that struggle with chronic insomnia, whether it's falling asleep or staying asleep, it's a big deal. Our quality of sleep affects virtually everything else throughout our day.
From brain fog at work to difficulty concentrating, the fatigue that won't go away, and even dreading bedtime in fear of laying awake for hours becomes a major problem for many. However, a connection between spinal health and sleep may be the key to helping you overcome this bothersome condition.
Many turn to over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications in an attempt to cure insomnia. Lots of these medications come with side effects of developing a dependency, a mental and physical lagging feeling in the morning, vivid dreams, sleep paralysis, and more. Some prescriptions are controlled substances, making them even more likely to come with serious side effects.
Chiropractic care and sleep, however, are a great match when addressing chronic insomnia. The approach is entirely holistic, meaning there's no medication involved. It's completely non-invasive and virtually risk-free. No more fighting sleepless nights or trying to overcome the negative side effects of medication.
Keep reading to learn more about the functions of sleep and insomnia, the impact of spinal health on sleep, and how chiropractic techniques can help you get a better night's rest.
Understanding Sleep Patterns and Insomnia
Insomnia comes in two forms–acute or chronic. Acute insomnia lasts for a short period and may come and go. You'll experience bouts of extremely poor sleep, then feel better for a while. But symptoms are likely to flare up again. This is often related to stress, anxiety, and several health conditions. According to experts, approximately 33% of people globally experience acute insomnia symptoms at one time or another.
Chronic insomnia can affect you indefinitely. The condition often presents itself in the late teenage years and can continue until a treatment management plan is in place. However, adults can develop chronic insomnia at any time, related to health issues or without an apparent underlying cause. Nearly 10% of adults in the United States meet the criteria for insomnia disorder.
Symptoms of insomnia may include:
- Having trouble falling asleep
- Having trouble staying asleep
- Frequent waking throughout the night
- Feeling tired even after a full night's rest
- Repeatedly waking up earlier than expected with the inability to fall back asleep
- Grogginess throughout the day
- Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Poor memory
- Difficult concentrating
- Excessive worrying about how you'll sleep at night
- Clumsiness, small accidents, and slight errors in work that are not explained by an underlying or pre-existing condition
Not every person will experience every symptom, but if a handful of these sound familiar, you may have insomnia disorder. Individuals who are more likely to experience the condition include:
- Those over the age of 60
- Those going through big life changes
- Individuals that suffer from anxiety and/or depression
- Increased stress levels
- Poor sleep habits and routines
- Those with hormonal imbalances
- Those who use excessive screen time before bed
- And more
There are two internal biological functions that regular sleep patterns–your circadian rhythm and homeostasis–work. When these functions are disrupted, you're more likely to experience insomnia symptoms. Insomnia can prevent your body from reaching the deepest stages of sleep, where your brain and body enter the essential repair mode overnight. This is why even if you do get some rest throughout the night, you still wake up feeling tired.
The Impact of Spinal Health on Sleep
You may experience insomnia with no identified underlying cause or without being in the groups most prone to the condition. You may not experience great stress in your life, not struggle with chronic mental or physical health conditions, and practice healthy sleep routines and habits. Yet, insomnia creeps up on you anyway. One reason for this may be the connection between spinal health and sleep.
When you lack proper sleep, your body may experience higher levels of inflammation, resulting in back pain and even worsening symptoms of insomnia. Your spinal cord is a key component of your nervous system, directly connecting to your brain.
A spinal subluxation (a misalignment of the vertebrae in your back or neck) can cause your brain to receive incorrect signals. Your brain naturally releases melatonin at nighttime, letting your body know it's time to go to bed. It's incredibly difficult to fall asleep without the proper release of this hormone. This is why many people try melatonin supplements as a way to address sleep issues. However, natural melatonin from the brain provides much better results.
These spinal misalignments (subluxation) and high levels of inflammation can lead to pain and often disrupt sleep. Chiropractic care and sleep go hand-in-hand, as spinal health is essential to getting great sleep.
Chiropractic Care Techniques for Improving Sleep
If you're struggling with insomnia, are tired of endless supplements and medications, or want to take a holistic approach before seeking prescription meds, chiropractic care is an excellent place to start. There are several ways it can help your body and mind get back on track so you can get the sleep you need to face the day with energy and enthusiasm.
Easing Muscle Tension
First, inflammation can cause muscle tightness and poor blood flow in the body. This tension commonly disrupts sleep patterns. Seeing a chiropractor can help ease this tension, minimize inflammation, improve blood flow, and make sleeping easier. Your chiropractor may recommend treatments such as laser therapy, massage therapy, or ultrasound therapy to target specific muscles.
Fixing Spinal Subluxations
Next, aligning your vertebrae properly can take pressure off your nerve endings, allowing for better communication with your brain. This can help signal better melatonin release and will enable you to enter each stage of sleep you need for a good night's rest.
For a spinal subluxation, your chiropractor will likely perform manual adjustments of your back and/or neck as needed so that everything stays perfectly aligned. Most people find that seeing their chiropractor regularly helps them achieve better sleep at night.
Providing Sleep Recommendations
Lastly, chiropractors are experts in all things bone and muscle related. They can help identify specific body points that may require extra support at night to help keep your spine aligned and out of pain. They're likely able to recommend the best pillows for head and neck support, positions for a better night's sleep, and more. This can help minimize the occurrence of spinal subluxation, allowing your spine and brain to keep communication in check.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you're experiencing restless sleep or insomnia symptoms, make an appointment with ChiroCare of Florida today. With multiple locations throughout South Florida, extended evening hours, and weekend appointments available upon request, we make scheduling as easy as possible.
We work with many insurance carriers, including Medicare, and will verify your benefits before your first appointment. After confirming your benefits, we'll inform you of any out-of-pocket expenses so you'll know what to expect financially before you visit our office.
Contact us today and beat insomnia once and for all.