For a huge segment of our population, sleep insufficiency is the norm rather than the exception. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls lack of sleep a “public health epidemic;” and an Institute of Medicine report found a significantly higher incidence of car accidents, industrial mishaps, and other work-related mistakes among those operating without adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation is considered an epidemic due to the huge population involved: 50-70 million adults in the United States have some type of sleep-related disorder.

No one wants to be involved in accidents, but safety is not the only reason to desire more sleep, as indicated by an article for WebMD by Louise Chang, MD. Dr. Chang compiled several compelling arguments to get more sleep. Along with accident avoidance (covered above), a few positive repercussions from eight hours of sleep each night are the following:

  • Stronger health
  • Bedroom improvements (with one in four people blaming lack of sleep for sexual inactivity);
  • Pain alleviation
  • Enhanced ability to maintain a healthy body weight.

Sleep tips

As Chang’s article makes clear, increasing your hours of sleep each night has incredibly positive effects. Here are four tips to improve your sleep, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

1. Schedule your Zs.

Start going to sleep and rising at the same time, whether it’s a workday or not. This tactic is a simple trick to engage your natural sleep-wake cycle. If you can’t fall asleep immediately, don’t force yourself to lie in bed trying. Get up; listen to relaxing music or have a cup of chamomile tea; and attempt sleep again.

2. Watch your diet.

Don’t lie in bed hungry, but also be careful about eating too much before sleep. Excessive drinking can be especially detrimental, waking you during the night.

3. Ritualize your evenings.

As with setting specific hours for sleep (#1), going step-by-step through a series of self-care activities each night allows your body to better understand that it is time to downshift. You might take a bath, for instance, followed by reading a few pages of a book or turning on serene music.

4. Don’t nap.

Many of us enjoy taking a nap during the day, even if it only lasts a half hour. Although shorter naps are fine, longer naps (anything over 30 minutes) can make it harder to get a full night’s sleep.

Combining strategies to alleviate pain

Notice above (bullet list in the introduction) that improving your sleep can improve your comfort, reducing the symptoms of a pain condition. Improvements to sleep, diet, and overall health are fundamental to our multidisciplinary pain management programs at Pain Stop Clinics. Get your complimentary consultation today, and we will include a hydromassage and X-rays for free.

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