This weeks Topic of the Week.
Previously, I’ve talked about certain stressors that will knock our atlas out of alignment causing a deep twist in the spine and nerve irritation. Among the things that this twist and irritation can cause are headaches, neck and back pain, herniation of discs, weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
After we get the atlas back into its proper position it can go back out of alignment. Lack of sleep is another major causes of the atlas going out of alignment. (I’ve already talked about physical injuries, physical stress, and emotional stress.) Conversely, being in alignment can also help us sleep better.
Lack of sleep can become a physical stressor when we are nodding out and fighting to stay awake. When we sleep our muscles are relaxed and the sudden jerking motion of forcing ourselves awake can pull us out of alignment.
Lack of sleep also causes the adrenals to go into overdrive to produce chemicals to help us stay awake. Some of the same nutrients needed to produce these chemicals are needed to repair our ligaments from daily wear and tear. (The ligaments are connective tissue that brace our bones holding them in the proper place). With the adrenals in overdrive, we are in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scenario, and the ligaments become deficient causing them to become weaker. This can lead to the atlas slipping out of its proper position.
Studies show that chronic sleep loss also leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and even shorter lives. Kids that are sleepy don’t learn as well, nor do they do as well in school. Newer studies show that lack of sleep depresses our immune system and increases our chance to catch colds.
The next question is how much sleep is enough and the truth is that everyone is different. Age, health, and genetics all play a role in how much sleep we need. Most people need at least 7-8 hours of sleep, but some may need as much as 10 hours. Studies also show that only a very few people can truly function well on only 6 hours of sleep.
Melatonin is a chemical that our brains produce that tells us it is time to sleep. Melatonin is produced when it becomes dark. If you are having trouble sleeping it important to be in a dark room. Being on the computer, watching TV, and reading by a bright light will depress melatonin production and keep us awake. Limit these activities before bedtime.
Finally, some people complain that the urge to go to the bathroom gets them up several times a night. Usually this is from a nutritional imbalance. Please let me know if you are suffering from this.
Lack of Sleep Could be Deadly, By Tina Hesman Saey. Science News. Feb. 12, 2010
The Claim: Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold. By Anahad O’Connor. New York Times. September 21, 2009.
Nighttime Computer Users May Lose Sleep. WebMD Health News. June 19, 2003