Losing just one night’s sleep is enough to offset our brain. It causes neurons to fire more slowly than usual, meaning our brain takes longer to translate visual input into conscious thought.
But as a society, we are sleeping less and working more.
Our country labels a day by the pattern of the sun and the moon. We associate daylight with activity and darkness with sleep, but not before performing more activity after the sun has set. This habit tends to leave Americans with an average of 4-6 hours of sleep every night, not enough to function at an optimal neurological level.
While you should try to sleep for 7-8 hours consecutively each night, I understand that adulthood does not make it easy to do so. However, if you have the ability to clear space in your afternoon for a short nap, your body (and brain) will thank you. While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve your mood, alertness and performance.
According to the Sleep Junkies,“Even a 20-minute power nap can clear our mind, help consolidate already learnt information, and allow our brain to pick up new material faster and more effectively. Even in the early stages of sleep, the brain starts to clear out adenosine – a chemical that gets created as we work and learn. This means that when we wake up, the brain is now able to collect more information, since it has additional free space. A slightly longer nap of 60 – 90 minutes has even more benefits; and mimics a good night’s rest that allows us to learn twice as fast. Research suggests that 20 – 40 minute naps can correct this problem; so that people who take a short nap are more alert, respond better and faster and make less mistakes. Brain scans show that people who take naps perform better at tasks.”
Naps can be typed in three different ways:
•Planned napping (also called preparatory napping) involves taking a nap before you actually get sleepy. You may use this technique when you know that you will be up later than your normal bed time or as a mechanism to ward off getting tired earlier.
•Emergency napping occurs when you are suddenly very tired and cannot continue with the activity you were originally engaged in. This type of nap can be used to combat drowsy driving or fatigue while using heavy and dangerous machinery.
•Habitual napping is practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day. Young children may fall asleep at about the same time each afternoon or an adult might take a short nap after lunch each day.
University of California psychology professor Dr Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change your Life, goes even further in listing the benefits of napping.
She claims it “increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhances your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps you looking younger, aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood, and strengthens memory”
Even as the science shows that napping has many benefits, understand that every person is different. There is also researching showing that naps potentially increase the inflammation within the body, and they can cause an individual to feel more tired and groggier after waking. If you would like to start napping, try to make it a daily habit, and try to keep it just under 30 minutes to see how your body responds.
Here are a few items that might help you nap in your car, or in an empty dark room at work!
Fibromyalgia is a real condition that leaves women feeling frustrated when they are trying to find out why they are not feeling well.
There are many tests performed to rule out other conditions. Often times it is misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis, delaying treatment. You should start with your primary care physician and from there you may be referred to a rheumatologist who is usually the one to diagnose fibromyalgia. Chiropractic care and massage are part of the treatment for fibromyalgia. These are just a few of the more common questions that have come up in my office.
Q: What exactly is Fibromyalgia?
A: Fibromyalgia is one of the hardest conditions to diagnose. It can take months or years for an actual diagnosis because it can mimic multiple sclerosis, some cancers, and autoimmune disorders. The American College of Rheumatology defines Fibromyalgia as “a disorder that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness, which tends to come and go and move about the body…It typically is associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances.” * It is as if the volume has been turned up in the brain as to how pain is perceived.
Q: What can cause Fibromyalgia?
A: There are many different triggers that can cause fibromyalgia and each person is different. Some causes could come from emotional stressors, some from physical stressors, such as arthritis or spinal disorders. There is also a chance that genes may play a roll as well.
Q: What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
A: There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with this condition. Some include migraine headaches, digestive/ irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ, and pelvic pain. Many say they feel “run down”, tired all the time and are not sleeping very well. Other symptoms may include feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. Some complain of a “brain fog”; meaning they may not remember things, and may take longer to retrieve information or do tasks. Most women do complain of muscle soreness or trigger points. If you have any or all of these symptoms, and they have lasted for over three months, you should consult a physician.
Q: Can Chiropractic care help?
A: Absolutely! Whether you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or you think you may have it, chiropractic care can help. While your medications can help calm your nervous system, chiropractic adjustments remove nerve interference. This allows the brain and spinal cord to communicate better to your muscles and organs of your body. This can help diminish the pain, allowing for better sleep, which in turn will rejuvenate your body! While under chiropractic care, diet and exercise will be introduced as well as some supplements such as magnesium and omegas. Massage is a wonderful compliment to chiropractic treatments.
If you have any questions, comments, or topics for future issues, feel free to contact us here.
Dr. Brenda Fairchild, RT(R)(M), B.A., B.S., D.C., Owner and Chiropractor of Pea and the Pod Chiropractic in Newark where her main focus of chiropractic is in the treatment of women (including pre-natal care) and children. Dr. Brenda is a graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic where she received her Doctorate of Chiropractic, along with Bachelor of Science degrees in Anatomy, and Health and Wellness. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from University Nevada Las Vegas and is currently working on her diplomate in children’s chiropractic care. Prior to becoming a chiropractor, Dr. Fairchild worked in the medical field as a radiological technologist in a Level 1 Trauma unit and in the cardiac cath labs for several years.
Dr. Brenda is one of the few chiropractors in Delaware that is Webster Certified to treat pregnant women and their babies. The technique is designed to allow the mother and the baby to have an easier childbirth by aligning the pelvis and its muscles and ligaments. This gives the infant maximum room in the womb, therefore decreasing trauma due to intervention. She is also a member of International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the American Pregnancy Association.