By Dr. Laura Whipple DC
Insomnia is an issue that plagues many of us at some point in our lives. Symptoms of insomnia include trouble falling asleep, waking-up in the night and not feeling rested.
Using over the counter or prescription sleep aids long term is not good for your health. Many of these decrease our performance the next day and some are linked to an increased risk of dementia.
In addition, we develop a physiological tolerance to these aids which means we need higher doses to get the same result over time.
This is why having good sleep habits is the best way to guarantee quality sleep in the long run:
- Use blue light filtering and/or screen dimming apps in the evening and avoid computers and phones 2 hours prior to bed. Remove the TV from your bedroom.
- Don’t consume caffeine after lunch, especially if you are sensitive.
- Stay on a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible.
- Sleep in a quiet room with blackout drapes to decrease sensory stimulation.
- Use a weighted blanket. These blankets put light pressure on the body, which is calming.
- Deep breathing at bedtime consisting of 30 belly breaths, 4 secs in and 8 secs out.
- Limit alcohol intake and don’t eat after 8 p.m.
- Get 30 minutes or more of daily exercise.
- Use sound, research shows that 432Hz (the Ohm in yoga) increases alpha waves in the brain, which are calming and decreases the time it takes to fall asleep.
- If you can’t fall asleep or get back to sleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Laying in bed awake thinking about trying to sleep creates a negative mental connection.
Dr. Laura Whipple has a BSc in Neuroscience and is a Doctor of Chiropractic. She has been in practice for 20 years and recently joined Dr. Lenz and Dr. Savoia at the Los Alamos Chiropractic Center. Dr. Whipple’s practice focuses on posture and performance using a combination of soft tissue release, adjustments and exercise recommendations. She also coaches patients on self-care and body awareness so they can manage themselves in between visits. Los Alamos Chiropractic Center is in the Mary Deal building on Trinity.