Written by Dr. Daniel Kimbley
We all know that sleep is a vital foundation for good health. Like eating, drinking, and breathing–we cannot live without proper sleep. Well maybe we can live, but we won’t maintain a quality of life worth living–not for long anyway.
The question arises then, why is sleep so important?
For starters, sleep deficiency is associated with increased risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.1. Lack of sleep is also associated with cognitive decline, inability to take pleasure from work, increased sensations of pain, and also disrupts healthy function of the immune system.
We all have the temptation to stay up late so that we can produce more, play more, or even get work done after we put the kids to bed. However, the most current research is suggesting that lack of sleep goes far beyond just having energy throughout the day.
One researcher found that normal sleep patterns influence T-cells, enhance cytokine activity to promote antigen antibody interactions which are important for memory of the immune system. In addition, sleep has a multitude of effects on cortisol, catecholamines and growth hormone which are all implicated in acute and chronic illnesses.2 In other words, when we interrupt our normal sleep patterns or don’t get enough sleep, stress hormones are increased throughout the body leading to a weakened immune system and decreased long-term health and well-being.
While it’s clear that sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing, many people are looking for solutions, not only for themselves, but for their kiddos as well.
Regular chiropractic care, care at the core of a healthy lifestyle, decreases the stress response in the body, increasing good sleeping, and contributing to increased well-being and quality of life.
One study found that patients receiving spinal adjustments display dramatic increases of IgA and decreases of cortisol.3 Cortisol is a stress hormone that not only temporarily shuts down the immune system, but also shrinks cells of the hippocampus, a pleasure center of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory. This is why it’s pleasurable and rewarding to learn something new. All of this means that without proper sleep, our bodies won’t be nearly as prepared to focus and learn.
We see this daily with the clients we care for inside of our office. A parent will come in or bring in their child to get checked and after a few adjustments I always ask the question, “how are you sleeping?”. Nearly everyone we care for has deeper, more restful sleep and wakes up feeling more refreshed.
I wish I could take the credit, however, this is how your body is designed to sleep when your nervous system is functioning optimally.
Another study focusing on over 100 pediatric patients found that over 75 percent of kids had improvement in sleeping habits even though a sleep problem was not the primary reason for their chiropractic care.4
Your body’s best opportunity to repair and regenerate itself after a grueling workout or mentally challenging day is when you’re sleeping. It’s clear that chiropractic care at the core of a healthy lifestyle is sure to keep you and your loved ones sleeping in the best way possible so that you can spend every day for the rest of your life focused, energized, and ready to handle anything that comes your way.
1 Colten HR, Altevogt BM. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: an unmet public health problem. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. ; 2006.
2 Mulrooney D, Ness KK, Neglia JP, Whitton JA, Green DM, Zeltzer LK, et.al. Fatigue and sleep disturbances in adult survivors of childhood cancer: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). Sleep. 2008;31(2):271-82. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/31.2.271.
3 Carrick FR. Changes in brain function after manipulation of the cervical spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997;20(8):529-45.
4 Miller J, Klemsdal M. Can chiropractic care improve infants’ sleep? J Clin Chiropr 2008 Mar;9(1):543-546.