May 28, 2012
Some of us feel that sleep is a luxury. Demanding jobs mean getting up early, and for some of us going to bed early feels like you’ve lost the day, so we compensate by sleeping less. But is that good enough? The oft-cited optimal level of sleep for an adult is the magic eight hours. However, individuals vary in their sleep needs from as little as five hours to as much as ten hours per night. Feeling drowsy during the day might mean you’re not getting enough winks, so how can you tell if you’re sleeping too much or too little?
A recent study conducted at the University of Westminster has concluded that there are people who are at their best and who are ready for action first thing in the morning, and another group who just cannot do mornings well. This may seem obvious, but why are some people early birds, and others night owls? The group who were awake early in the morning was found to have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who prefer to sleep in. The results of this study indicate that there may be a physiological difference between early risers and late sleepers.
he difference in cortisol levels may also contribute to different temperaments between the different sleep groups. Those who awaken early in the morning, tend to be busier and more concentrated, but are also angrier and have less energy at the end of the day than their late-rising counterparts. In late-riser group, people are more likely to be relaxed and less busy. Cortisol is a hormone known to affect both mood and concentration. While it’s hard to specify an ideal time to get up in the morning, if you’re feeling stressed there is an increased chance you’ll feel better if you add an extra half an hour of sleep to your night.
What about the effects of sleep deprivation?
It is well known that sleep deprivation can be dangerous, especially if you are driving or using heavy machinery. The effect on driving may be as dangerous as driving under the influence. Not sleeping enough can also suppress your immune system and increases your perception of pain. Most scientists believe eight hours of sleep is a safe amount and is enough to function comfortably.
If you’re alert during the day, then chances are you’re sleeping enough. However if you feel a dip during the day, then even a 10- or 15-minute nap can make a big difference in your concentration and performance. If you can’t get enough sleep on a certain day, you can always make it up afterwards. Sleep longer by going to bed earlier, sleep in on the weekend or even take a nap to help to replenish the sleep debt left. In general, however, try to have a regular sleep schedule to keep your body as rested and ready-to-go as possible.
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May 14, 2012
Fibromyalgia is a condition with no known medical cure. It is characterized by chronic and debilitating pain all over the body, and heightened pain under pressure. Its symptoms can cause patients to suffer from widespread pain, poor sleep, chronic tiredness and even depression. The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Some theories cite that the patient’s low pain threshold may be attributed to increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals.  Other possible causes could be a genetic predisposition ; stress; the disruption of normal dopamine related neurotransmission ; abnormal serotonin levels  and deficient growth hormone secretion . While there is currently no cure for the condition, its symptoms can be alleviated by chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatment uses manipulation, which is a technique involving short and quick thrusts to the vertebrae in the spine to shift vertebrae back into their correct position. The treatment found in chiropractic care is based on the idea that illnesses and pain in the body arise from misalignments in the body’s skeletal structure. In order for the body to function healthily, the spine and the skeletal structure need to be set in the correct position – otherwise problems like chronic pain can arise.
Fibromyalgia causes numerous, tender points to occur all over the body, including back and neck pain and leg cramps. As a result of these symptoms, sufferers of fibromyalgia have sought treatment from chiropractors. Because the adjustments made during treatment help to restore the posture of the skeletal system, many sufferers find that treatment can help to reduce a significant amount of pain. Some fibromyalgia sufferers experience a condition known as cervical spinal stenosis, which results in compression of the spine’s meninges, which are the coverings of the upper spine. This can result in debilitating pain all over the body. A chiropractor may be able to help with cervical spinal stenosis by adjusting the spine around the head and neck, releasing this compression and eliminating the symptoms attributed to it.
The effectiveness of chiropractic care has been studied in sufferers of fibromyalgia , where patients were asked which method of treatment, medical or alternative, helped the best with their condition. The majority voted for chiropractic treatment. In addition, the effectiveness was tested by using spinal manipulation to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, and after 15 treatments, results concluded that patients had reduced fatigue and pain as well as improved sleep quality.
While fibromyalgia sufferers continue to look for a cure, it is great to know that there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and live a more normal life. If you or someone you know suffers from undiagnosed chronic pain or fibromyalgia, please share this article with them and encourage them to get a chiropractic consultation.
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