If we give our bodies the time they need to rest and achieve quality sleep, the more productive we can be
With the advent of faster computers, global telecommunications and a 24-hour news cycle, it seems as though we never can catch up, let alone get ahead. It is all too easy to tell ourselves that we can get everything done in a day if we can just get by on a little less sleep. As a result, we stay up too late and get up too early the following day, yet still feel as though we are not getting quality sleep.
Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to a pattern of poor sleep that can not only make us less productive, but increase our risk for a number of serious health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Standard treatment, often in the form of prescription hypnotics, runs the risk of accidental overdose or addiction.
You’ve likely seen these sorts of poor sleep habits in your patients. Don’t be surprised if they are skeptical about the benefits of chiropractic care and ask what types of treatments you offer that may produce better results. Let’s take a quick look at some sleep stats, before moving on to some of the ways in which the full spectrum of chiropractic care can get your patients back to counting sheep, rather than the minutes on their alarm clock.
Quality sleep stats
According to the Institutes of Medicine, as many as 50-70 million American adults reported suffering from some type of sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most commonly reported.1 Approximately 30% of adults reported suffering from insomnia, with approximately 10% reporting chronic issues with sleeplessness.
Additionally, more than 35% of adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, 48% reported snoring, and 38% reported falling asleep during the day.1,2
Adjusting to better sleep
Of course, spinal adjustments should be among your options for treating sleep issues. A 2010 article in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported on a review study of 15 smaller articles about several treatment options for insomnia, including spinal manipulation.3
By pooling the findings, the researchers hoped to find patterns of similarity to strengthen each individual article’s results. Although none of the articles specifically focused only on chiropractic, the authors found that there was a pattern of improvement following spinal manipulation which seemed to merit further investigation with larger studies.3
Don’t fight against the right pillow
Improper neck, head, and shoulder alignment can play a huge role in quality sleep and the duration of sleep. A patient’s pillow could actually be working against their ability to get a good night’s rest.
A 2014 study in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine compared two types of standard pillows (feather or memory foam) against an orthopedic pillow.4 A group of 20 healthy subjects (10 men and 10 women compared pillows by lying supine for 30 minutes with each one. Pillow comfort and temperature, as well as cervical curve, were all measured. The orthopedic pillow was found superior to both types of standard pillows on all three measurements, showing the importance of pillow content and shape in contributing to sleep quality.4
Suggesting nutritional supplements that help promote good sleep habits is likely the easiest way in which you can help your patients struggling with sleep issues. Most supplements have a better efficacy profile and less dangerous side effects than those associated with prescription hypnotics, such as benzodiazepines.
A 2020 article from the journal Nutrients reviewed a number of dietary ingredients that improve both sleep quality and quantity.5 The researchers found that foods containing tryptophan, melatonin, and phytonutrients were particularly effective and promoting good sleep habits. Supplements with these same active ingredients should also benefit patients.
It is all too easy to feel as though we must constantly go at the same pace as the world around us, lest we fall behind. In fact, the opposite may be more beneficial. If we give our bodies the time they need to rest and achieve quality sleep, the more productive we can be. Fortunately, chiropractic care can improve the quality and quantity of sleep, allowing us to do just that.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press: 2006.
- American Sleep Association. Sleep and sleep disorder statistics. https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2021.
- Kingston J, Raggio C, Spencer K, et al. A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2010;9(3):121-126.
- Jeon MY, Jeong H, Lee S, et al. Improving the quality of sleep with an optimal pillow: A randomized, comparative study. Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2014 Jul;233(3):183-188.
- Binks HE Vincent G, Gupta C, et al. Effects of diet on sleep: A narrative review. 2020;12(4):936.