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Q: What can I do to get better sleep?

Posted October 09, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: The Centers for Disease Control recommends seven to nine hours per night. A review of studies published in the journal “Sleep” found that short sleepers (less than seven hours) and long sleepers (more than nine hours) lived shorter lives than those who slept seven to nine hours per night.

Inadequate sleep can affect your heart, lungs, kidneys, appetite, metabolism, immune system, mood and brain function. Recent studies have shown a link between inadequate sleep and increased risk of type II diabetes, breast cancer and colon polyps. They also found that couples fight more and are less healthy after a bad night’s sleep.

Tips for more restful sleep: Get regular exercise — stress can negatively affect sleep and exercise reduces stress. Do not eat before bed. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking, as they can disrupt sleep patterns. Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals to your body that it’s time for bed. Consider a sound machine. The sound of white noise will drown out upsetting background noise and soothe you to sleep. Try to sleep the same number of hours each night. Increase your melatonin, either with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and absolute darkness at night or supplementation.

Finally, many chiropractic patients report improved sleep as a “side effect” of their regular treatments. Chiropractic can ease aches and pains, and reduce stress, all of which can improve sleep.

Information provided by Jefferson Family Chiropractic, 216 N. Wilson Ave., 515-386-3747.

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