How many hours did you sleep last night? Did you sleep well and feel rejuvenated and recharged or do you want to go back to bed until tomorrow?
We’ve all felt the effects of a bad night or several of sleep: lightheadedness, brain fog, heaviness, and a bad mood. So why does this happen sometimes even though you’ve gotten “enough” sleep?
While we rest, our body goes through sleep cycles named after brain wave patterns during these stages. There are 4 different cycles within our sleep ranging from light sleep to deep sleep and back to light sleep. A complete sleep cycle can last about 90 minutes, which means that we can have between 4 and 6 sleep cycles in one night.
These short waves are incredibly important for restoring body function, boosting the immune system, and ensuring our ability to think creatively. It is when our body is truly “unconscious” and can recover from a hard day at work.
Stage 4 is called REM sleep because of the movement of our eyes even when they are closed. Rapid eye movement indicates that the body is inactive, except for the eyes and the muscles of respiration. This stage is also very important for cognitive function, memory and creativity. The REM phase is also when we usually have our most vivid dreams.
What does all this have to do with the nervous system?
The brain is the command center for the rest of the body and there are a few key places in the brain that regulate sleep. The brainstem works with the thalamus and hypothalamus to regulate information from the brain and body about the environment, such as whether there is light or darkness outside, whether the body is relaxed or tense to allow sleep to creep in, and many other factors that allow initiating the stages of sleep.
At the center of our brain is the pineal gland, the super important gland that works to control our levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone in relation to our circadian rhythms. The pineal gland is directly between the two hemispheres of the brain. It occupies a very important position and works directly with hormones and the cardiovascular system.
There are several health problems that can stem from lack of adequate sleep (hormonal and metabolic imbalance, cardiovascular problems, mental illness and depression, lack of clarity and inability to concentrate, decreased social interaction and immune function) just to name a few.
How do adjustments help sleep cycles?
A chiropractic adjustment can help decrease stress levels within the body and can increase proper brain and body functions. Clearing the nervous system of interference allows the body to be better equipped to handle the stress (emotional, chemical and physical) of the external environment. Each setting stimulates the central nervous system and allows the proper flow of vital information between the brain and the body.
What things can I do at home to ensure a good sleep?
Unplug !!! Do not connect to electronic devices for at least an hour before going to bed. The light from the screens and the constant stimulation can trigger our brain into active mode, the opposite of what we want for sleep.
Close your eyes, put your hands on your belly, and take 10-15 deep breaths. Being aware of our breathing allows the mind to focus instead of rushing on all the things that we have to do or did not do during the day.
Make sure your room is dark. Melatonin is activated by our circadian rhythms and they occur naturally in the sun and in the dark.
Get some movement / exercise daily. Moving our body naturally helps to release stress and will create a feeling of tiredness as we disconnect from the day.
Avoid caffeine, stimulants, alcohol, or heavy foods before bed. Help your body fall asleep by avoiding these items for at least a couple of hours before going to bed.
Sleep should be a pleasant and refreshing part of our lives. We all know how good it feels to crawl into a soft and cozy bed after a long day. Your brain, your body, and your health will thank you if you give it a proper night’s sleep. We wish you all very HAPPY DREAMS!
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Brittany King empezó a trabajar con el equipo de Puravida Quiropráctica en 2015. Es licenciada en Barcelona College of Chiropractic y en 2020 obtuvo su certificado avanzado en la técnica SOT, actualmente está estudiando para conseguir ser craneópata.