New About Sleep?
Chinese proverb states, “Only when one cannot
one know how long the night is.” Almost
relate to those words at some point in
younger people, stress and worry commonly
insomnia. Older people suffer from a natural
melatonin—a sleep inducing hormone.
from job and family, illness, side effects of
medications, and aches and pains caused by
beds or pillows can also rob us of
and computers may also contribute to sleep
Computer use, especially in the workplace,
associated with all types of insomnia in
so than stress, which affects only difficulty
asleep and early morning arousal. Studies
that unlimited TV, computer, and Internet
sleep deprivation in children—they go to
sleep fewer hours, and feel more tired.
television viewing in adolescence may result
sleep problems. Playing computer games may
adults, as well. A Japanese study found that
exciting tasks on computers with bright
night affects melatonin concentration and
biological clock, interfering with sleep.
million Americans suffer from chronic sleep
each year, and an additional 20 million have
sleeping problems.6 Deep sleep helps
grow and improves their learning ability. Lack
affects the immune and nervous systems,
judgment, attention, patience, and thinking
abilities. It can be especially dangerous for
drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety
estimates that sleep deprivation is
for 100,000 vehicle accidents a year,
1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
problems are common in people with most
disorders, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cancer, and head
hospitalized patients, sleep deprivation may
by treatment schedules and routines.
contributes to the patients’ confusion, frustration,
depression. They become more sensitive to
pain and may
request increased pain medications.
research shows that the old advice of sleeping
comfortable bed in a cool bedroom, eating an
dinner, going to bed at the same time each night,
caffeine and alcohol before sleep may
not work for
everyone. Sleep medications are not
long-term use. So, what can we do when
known remedies have been tried, but sleep is
experts recommend the following:
weekends, go to bed at the same time as
• If you
exercise in the evening, do so at least 3
bedtime. Also, stay away from
brain-stimulating or stressful activities,
balancing checkbooks, reading
and playing computer games.
a sleep ritual that will help you to relax
such as a warm bath.
listening to relaxing music before going to
Soothing music may improve sleep quality
older adults, and critically ill
your child’s exposure to TV or video
less than 1 hour a day. Long hours
front of the TV may lead to not only
problems, but also headache, back pain,
symptoms. Make sure there is no television
set in your
• Be sure
your children go to bed early and get
sleep. Children between 3 and 6 years
should get 11-13 hours of sleep at
Children from 1st to 5th grade should
hours.19 Late bedtimes and short
hours have been strongly associated
people should take 30-minute afternoon
reduce sleepiness and fatigue and
• Sleep on
a comfortable, supportive mattress
Talk to your doctor of chiropractic
choosing the bed and pillow that are
are looking into several possible alternative
aids. Although they have not been widely
sleep experts agree—it can’t hurt to try
Acupuncture has been proven effective for
disorders and anxiety.
Therapeutic touch and relaxing back massage
for promoting sleep in critically ill
chiropractic care may
those with spasms, pain, and joint
of the neck and back.
information on health and safety visit the Ontario Chiropractic
Web site at
www.chiropractic.on.ca or call 1877-327-2273.
Traitses, 416-499-5656, www.infinite-health.com
more than 30 to 45 min. to fall
up many times each night
up early and being unable to get
up feeling tired.
officinalis) may be more appropriate
use than sleep medications.
sleeping medications impair vigilance
after use, valerian does not. More
needed, however, to assess valerian’s
and establish the optimum dose.
chamomile, hops, lavender, lemon
passionflower, and wild lettuce have been
said to have
mild sedative properties, but need
supplements may be useful for treating
insomniacs. They appear to be safe
for days or weeks—but the long-term
is not clear.
Pregnant or nursing women, children under
3 years of
age, and people who use alcohol or
drugs, should check with their doctor
taking any of these supplements.
B.Sc.(Hon.), M.Sc., C.H.N., C.N.M., A.C.R.B. 3, C.R.A.