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Sleep By The Numbers - By Dr. Mike

MVI_0020.Still003cropLet’s start by reflecting back on your life up to this point.  Let’s say you are 30 years old and have had a lot of life experiences and done and seen a lot of really cool things.  If this is true, you will have lived for 262,080 total hours.  Now picture this, we ideally spend, on average, 1/3 of our lives asleep (assuming we get an average of 8 hours of sleep per night).  What this means is that we will spend about 87,360 hours of our 30 years asleep.  Now this number of course changes a bit because we sleep more as a child and probably less in the high school and college years, but for simplicity sake let’s assume that 8 hours per night is the norm.

What This Means for Pain or Lack Thereof

What all this math really means is that you have 8 hours of your day to either help your neck and back or hurt your neck and back by sleeping properly or improperly.  If you spend 8 hours in a really crappy position you are more than likely going to wake up stiff, sore or in pain.  The opposite also holds true, when done well and properly you will wake up refreshed and ready to go.  Our WellnessLab video goes through the improper and proper ways to sleep so I won’t go back through that, but will talk about how sleep affects our overall health and our lives.

MVI_0020.Still004cropA Reset Button

Sleep is basically our version of a reset button on a laptop or phone.  It allows our process that have been going going going all day long to reset themselves and for us to recharge our batteries to be better able to tackle the next day ahead.  If you are sleeping poorly, or just simply not getting enough sleep this will, obviously, not be ideal to being able to fully function come morning again.  Whether you are a night owl who stays up too late watching reruns of Seinfeld or binge watching the latest season of Sons of Anarchy, either way your body is getting all messed up. Our bodies and our natural circadian rhythm are set by the rising and setting of the sun.  If you are spending hour after hour watching TV or playing on your tablet into the wee hours of the night you are essentially screwing up your internal clock.  Research suggests unplugging at least 1 hour before bed to allow melatonin levels to rise enough to optimal levels to get you to go to sleep.

Another more radical version suggests going camping for a week straight.  Allowing your body to go to sleep with the setting sun and wake up with the rising sun basically resets your internal clock and in this study in particular allowed the participants to go to sleep 2 hours earlier, which matched up better with their biological clocks.  Hopefully this will at least get you to think twice about starting an episode of your favorite show late at night or playing on Facebook all night long.

– Dr. Mike

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