Sleep , Insomnia and Chiropractic


It’s really a pretty bizarre phenomenon: for about seven or eight hours a day all thinking and almost all motions stops, and you become oblivious to external reality, experiencing another reality of fleeting symbols and images- an existence mysterious , unknown, and (at times) frightening. Is it any wonder that in Greek Mythology Hypnus, the god of sleep is the brother of Thanatos, the god of death?

Sleep constitutes such a large part of our lives that it simply must be very important. And it is! The effects of its absence tells us so. Without satisfying sleep, proper physical and mental function is virtually impossible. Sleep regenerates us, heals us, balances us.


Are you having trouble sleeping nights? Waking up tired? Waking up in the middle of the night? You’ve got lots of company. A 1991 Gallup poll found that one person in four has insomnia occasionally and nine percent chronically and that problems with sleeping at night cause problems during the day(and vice-versa).

Dealing with Insomnia

Somnology, the study of sleep reveals that there are three types of insomnia: transient insomnia, which is caused by a temporarily stressful situation, or even a large meal; before bedtime and last a few nights; short-term insomnia, which may last for a few days to several week s as a result of a more severe and extended form of emotional stress; and chronic insomnia which usually arise from a more deep-seated physical or emotional problem. Chronic insomnia may be caused by alcohol or drug use; anxiety, fear, mania or depression; obsessions, compulsion; chronic pain.

Health Practices Known to Hasten Sleep

Go to be at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning no matter what time you fall asleep – this trains your body-mind to accord to a regular rhythm.

Don’t lie in bed if you can’t sleep-you’ll only get frustrated and feel even more tense. Get up and watch TV or otherwise try to relax until you feel sleepy.

Avoid coffee, tea cola, and cocoa, all of which contain caffeine, six hours before bedtime.

Do not eat large meals or engage in heavy exercise before bedtime.

Don’t take naps.

Don’t try to catch up on sleep on weekends.

Use your bed only for sleep and sex – don’t bring your work to bed.

Get regular exercise to reduce body tension.

Try as best you can to avoid boredom. If you’re not really awake during the day, you can’t really be asleep during the night.

Sleep Medications

Frequently, of course, insomniacs resort to sleep medications. Because it is easy to develop tolerance to these drugs, it’s common for users to gradually increase the suggested dosage and continue taking the pills for longer and longer periods of time.

Presecription sleep medications include Dalmane, Doral, ProSom, Restoril, Valium, Xanax and Halcion. All of these drugs tend to leave people with a medication hangover and memory loss the following day. Halcion, the number one sleep medication (over seven million prescriptions in 1990), gas stirred controversy because of its side effects: it can make a person anxious, confused and excitable the next day and has been accused of bringing about violent behaviour. Halcion has been banned in Great Britain.

In over-the-counter (non-prescription) sleep medications, the sleep-inducing ingredient is usually antihistamine. The main side effect is dry mouth, although other side effects are common. It’s best to consult the Physicians Desk Reference(PDR) when taking any drug, whether prescribed or not! Finally, it is important to remember that sleeping pills do not correct the cause of sleeping problems. Rather than continuing merely to treat the symptom, an insomniac must explore the question why it is that he/she cannot sleep/

Herbal Remedies

Tehre are also effective herbal remedies, such as passion flower, wild oats, valerian, and skullcap. Nonmedical remedies include vitamins such as tryptophan (found in milk); warm (not hot) baths or bathing your feet in hot water to draw the blood from the head; relaxation therapy.

Relaxation Study

In a University of Alabama study, one group of insomniacs learned to use relation techniques to help them to got to sleep; a second group used sleeping pills. Although the group taking sleep pills fell asleep immediately, they continued to awaken during the night just as often as they did without the pills. After about two weeks of practicing relaxation techniques, the relaxation group learned to fall asleep immediately and stay asleep for longer periods.

At this point let us ask: What did Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Rudyard Kipling, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe, and Cary Grant have in common? The answer is heavy snoring.

Heavy Snoring

Nine out of ten snorers are men, most of them over age 40. They tend to be overweight (which make for extra fat tissue in the airway) and/or to be smokers. Alcohol and sedatives are known to contribute to snoring (by slackening the throat and tongue muscles). High blood pressure too, is known to be a cause. Because some people snore only when sleeping on their backs, sleeping on the side sometimes helps reduce and even eliminate snoring, as can elevating the head.

Although there have been anecdotal instances of snoring ceasing after chiropractic care, no studies have as yet been performed. Where, in fact, snoring is being caused by lazy tongue or throat muscles, a healthy nerve supply to that area might well make a difference.

Sleep walking, Night Terror, and Bed Wetting

Characterized as parasomnia is a group of unusual sleep behaviours that are believed to be related. The most common are sleep walking(somnambulism); night terror (awakening frightened, screaming, and excited with no memory of the cause); and enuresis (urination during sleep). These disorders usually begin in early childhood and normally stop by adolescence. Clinical experience has shown chiropractic to be especially helpful in cases of parasomnia. Any of them may be associated with underlying emotional stress, and here psychological counselling can be helpful also.

The Chiropractic Approach

Nearly a hundred years of clinical case histories have shown chiropractic to be of great benefit for sleeping problems. In fact, “better sleep” is a report that new patients commonly give their chiropractor.

The brain and nervous system regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and by relieving the spine of nerve blockages, chiropractic helps insure a healthy nerve supply from the brain to the rest of the body. This natural, drugless approach to health care should be explored by anyone suffering from sleep problems of any kind.

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If you have back pain, neck pain, sciatica, headaches, leg pain, shoulder pain we would love to help you. Give Dr Luke Mulvihill or Dr Danny Scahill a ring or email us. We are based in Crawley West Sussex UK. OR if you have any questions? Check out our FAQ’s page.

We look at all aspects of your health and we have many blogs on diet and nutrition as well.  Do check these out Acid/Alkaline in your foods and how it is linked to Osteoporosis, protein in vegetables so you don’t have to eat so much meat, and another is on the eating healthily Pyramid and we have so many more for you to check out.

FINALLY….. Remember……the purpose of chiropractic is to locate and correct areas of the spine that interfere with the normal nervous system control of your body. Because the intervertebral discs are so close to the spinal cord and nerve roots, disc involvement is common in chiropractic cases. Spinal adjustments help to restore correct motion and position of the misaligned spinal bones and if caught before permanent damage occurs, disc tissue often returns to a more normal size and shape.

Chiropractic first. Risky drugs second. Surgery last.

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  1. […] Through Spinal Awareness Week we plan to educate and encourage people to introduce changes to their lifestyle that will allow them to Move Better and ultimately Live Better. Chiropractors acknowledge that the elderly population in the UK is increasing and through Chiropractors  care and advice can not only improve the independence and quality of life of the elderly but also reduce the financial burden on an already stretched NHS. Chiropractors have much to offer this rapidly expanding demographic group, not the least of which is maintenance of spinal flexibility, improving posture and balance. […]