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Sleep help In Truckee and Tahoe


What happens if we do not get enough sleep?



We can not think clearly, act as fast, it decreases our creative problem solving, focusing ability, we can not remember things as well, and we do not store things in long term and short term memory. It even slows down our physical performance. You make poor decisions. One decision that is researched often is poor food choices, they are related to not having enough sleep, which means less sleep leads to more bad fats and simple carbohydrates and refined foods, essentially junk food. People make more mistakes when they are sleep deprived which is best studied in medical interns and residents showing that there is a direct proportion of increased medical mistakes to longer hours of work and getting less sleep we also see this in people who work at night. Three Mile Island and the Valdez oil spill were both due to sleep deprivation! If you think about what happens in the Tahoe Truckee area in food and beverage industry. During the holiday seasons all the people that work in restaurants work more hours and sleep less, they make more mistakes on there food orders and drink orders. They probably have more car and skiing/snowboarding accidents and are in pain and need to see the chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist more often.



Insufficient sleep affects mood. It makes you irritable and is linked to poor behavior and trouble with relationships, and it can lead to depression.



Sleep is essential to health. Studies show that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other medical conditions.
Immune system: It needs sleep to fight colds and cancer. 




Your body can not repair torn tissues like bones ligaments, discs, joint capsules, nerves, fascia, and muscles if you are not getting enough sleep. So if you have back, neck, arm shoulder knee, ankle, hand, jaw, injury and you are not healing as well or as fast as you think you should be, as yourself are you getting enough sleep? So, if you are going to the chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, medical doctor in Truckee for back pain, neck pain or any health problem and you not getting better think about sleep.


How much sleep is enough? 

The general recommendation is 8-10 hours of sleep for adults. Another way for you to know if you’re getting enough sleep is to look at ideal sleep patterns. An ideal sleep pattern would be you go to bed at the same time and it takes you 3-15 minutes to fall asleep, you wake up at the same time without an alarm and you do not feel sleepy. If you fall asleep immediately or as your head is hitting the pillow or you wake up and feel tired then you are sleep deprived.

What about the quality of the sleep?


Sleep quality is as important as the quantity. The reason this is is that you go through sleep in cycles, that are 90 minutes long and the first cycle has the shortest amount of R.E.M. sleep and in each subsequent cycle the R.E.M. sleep has a longer duration (R.E.M stands for rapid eye movement which is the way scientists identify this stage). Why is R.E.M. sleep so important? The R.E.M. sleep sets into motion the bodies rejuvenating, rebuilding and healing processes. In effect we can not heal or function properly without adequate R.E.M. sleep. R.E.M. sleep is decreased by interruptions of sleep i.e. by bathroom breaks, pain or numbness, your spouse, dog and neighborhood noises.

How common is sleep deprivation?

At least 40 million Americans experience chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and an additional 60 million experience occasional sleeping problems. The most common is insomnia, which can be short term or long term. 

How do we improve sleep?

By improving  your sleep habits:
  • The body likes to be on a schedule so sleep, wake, eat and exercise on a regular schedule even on weekends. Set that alarm clock or waking device. Honor/acknowledge your intuition, the sun and moon.

  • If you fall sleep and then wake up after a couple hours your blood sugar may be getting low, try a nutrient dense small snack before bed to see if you can correct this. 10 almonds are a good choice.

  • Timing of exercise, it seems to me that my patients and myself do better to get it out of the way in the beginning of the day and that way you do not let other things get in the way. If you exercise less then 4 hours before bed it will stimulate you and interfere with sleep.

  • Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes a day this will help you sleep and dissipate stress

  • Avoid stress as much as possible

  • Have sunlight exposure. The best time for this is when you get up. Sit in the sun or get a bright full spectrum light. This will also help prevent Seasonal effective disorder. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day.

  • Don't lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity. The stress and anxiety that we feel when we cannot sleep can make it harder to fall asleep. The mind will keep going so change the focus by getting up for a while.

  • Eliminate coffee caffeine, and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate can take as long as 24 hours to wear off fully. Also decaf coffee has stimulating effects that has nothing to do with caffeine.

  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. It may help you fall asleep but the sedative effects ware off as the night goes on and the quality and quantity will be less. It also does not let you get as much of that healing R.E.M. sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects have worn off.

  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. If you are having indigestion you may have a food allergy that needs to be investigated. You may also have specific foods that cause you to not sleep well. Dairy and wheat be common ones. Foods like turkey that contain the amino acid tryptophan will help you sleep Drinking too many fluids at night can cause you to awaken frequently to urinate.

  • If you are having indigestion problems, raising the head of the bed 4 inches may help.

  • Avoid medicines that affect your sleep, if possible. Some commonly prescribed and over the counter pain, anti-inflammatory, heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as herbal remedies, vitamins and mineral may affect your sleep. You may also find taking certain medications during different times of the day may help you sleep better

  • No naps over 50 minutes or after 3 p.m. Naps can boost your brain power and revitalize you

  • Relax before bed. Take time to unwind. Stretching, yoga especially the calming poses (i.e. legs up the wall) relaxing reading, and music, should all be part of your bedtime ritual.

  • A hot bath before bed. The changes in body temperature after the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help relax you.

  • Also, keeping the temperature in your bedroom on the cool side can help you sleep better.

  • Use aroma therapy to calm

  • Do not do watch television in bed

  • Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights.

  • Find the correct bed for you and pillows, supports.

See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping. If you consistently find yourself feeling tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder. Your family doctor or a sleep specialist should be able to help you. 

I see many patients that are adverse to using a sleep aid, they are good when used appropriately on a short term basis so you can get to sleep and correct poor habits and get back to regular sleep.

Here are some additional tools to help sleep: 


  • Morning bright light therapy (2500 lux cool white light box) for two hours (6-8 am)  will normalize body temperature, cortisol, and mood, all improving sleep.

  • Valerian 400-900 mg valerian before bed

  • Ginseng dosage is 1-2g of the crude root, or 200-600 mg of extracts.

  • Kava 180-210 mg, avoid alcohol consumption due how it potentates the effects

  • Passion flower 

  • Hops for insomnia as an infusion

  • In tea 0.5 g of the dried herb

  • Melatonin (0.3-5 mg) optimal effective dosing is unclear, this should be used under professional guidance i.e. chiropractor, naturopath or medical doctor

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan 100 mg

  • Magnesium citrate 200mg



What sleep Positions are the best?


Good sleep posture means that we sleep with a straight spine, to do this if you have someone lying on there side which is the most popular sleeping posture but puts the most pressure on your shoulder joint. In this position you look at there back to make sure the spine is straight. If the spine is not straight you will need a pillow that is the same height as the edge of the shoulder to the side of the head after compression by your head. A pillow between the knees will help to level the pelvis.

Sleeping posture also exposes your level of comfort with your life and sleeping situation. When sleeping on your stomach you are very protected and closed, on your side we are partially protected and on our back we are open and safe. 

Sleeping on your stomach is bad, bad, bad for your back and neck and needs to eliminated one of the best remedies for this is to sew a golf ball to the front of your shirt and sleep in it, this will make it uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach and will cure you of this problem fast.

Sleeping on your back is excellent for you back, neck and shoulder. A thin pillow beneath your head and a pillow underneath your knees gives proper support.

Which beds are the best for sleep?

When choosing a bed you need to sleep test a bed for at least 10 minutes and bring your pillows with you. In a small study people were generally slightly happier with foam as opposed to traditional coil spring mattress. Three quarters of the people said the foam mattress helped there sleep and two thirds of the traditional coil mattress purchasers said it helped sleep. Mattress toppers may help with a mattress too hard or with someone with shoulder problems but there is no evidence to confirm this.

Bed Info:

We also need to sleep on a good quality bed that is flipped at least every 6 months, unless it is a pillow top, it then needs to be rotated.  A bed will last 10 years. A pillow 1 year.  A sleep number bed does not get rotated.


When it comes to mattresses those with a low back pain issue do better with a firm mattress and those with shoulder pain do better with a soft mattress.


One of the European mattress systems has slats that can be adjusted by changing were the slats are and the slats also come in different stiffness levels, so you can customize it to fit you best, I.e. less pressure in shoulder area for side sleepers. 


The sleep number bed gives you the ability to vary the firmness of the whole bed by pressing a button. Both of these beds have 2 separate systems so that you can vary them for each individual in the bed. 

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