Night night: Four ways to have more and better sleep

YOU SNOOZE, YOU DON'T LOSE: If you want to be happier and healthier, make sure you get enough sleep.
YOU SNOOZE, YOU DON'T LOSE: If you want to be happier and healthier, make sure you get enough sleep. Thinkstock

SLEEP. It is essential. We could all do with more of it or at least better-quality sleep.

The increasing dependence on stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks is somewhat telling that many of us are running low on energy and need a boost.

Interrupted or inadequate sleep on a regular basis not only leaves you tired through the day but also increases the risk of health ailments including fatigue, depression, heart disease and stroke.

There are seasons in life that demand more, causing us to sacrifice sleep. Although understandable, this could be counter-productive as your ability to perform and focus is greatly reduced without adequate rest.

Hormones such as insulin and ghrelin that are responsible for sugar metabolism and appetite are negatively affected in those who average less than eight hours sleep a night, increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Your immunity is also decreased, making it harder for your body to fight off infections.

Your body is a complex machine, designed to live in cycles of night and day, dark and light. Your autonomic nervous system responds to the level of light triggering the release of various hormones that wake you up in the morning and other hormones that help you fall asleep at nightfall.

In short, if you want to be happier and healthier, sleep more. Here are four things you can do to get more sleep.

Prioritise quality sleep

Your time during the day is limited, so consider creating structure in your day to allow for a better sleep regimen.

Watch your caffeine intake

I have mentioned the need for stimulants as a symptom of poor sleep but they may also be one of the causes. As a rule, avoid caffeine after 1-2pm.

Limit the use of screens at night

The light emitted from devices tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, limiting the release of your natural, sleep-inducing chemicals.

Have your spine and nervous system checked by your local chiropractor

Recent research demonstrates the impact of chiropractic adjustments on the part of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system, which plays a large role in sleep.

This may explain in part why some who receive regular chiropractic care find their sleep improves.

Another reason may be that as areas of pain improve, sleep comes more easily.

No large-scale studies have been done on chiropractic and sleep so bear in mind that results may differ.

However the role of the nervous system in sleep is evident and chiropractic works to improve the nervous system function. Consider seeing your chiropractor to see how you can improve your sleep.

Dr James MacKay is a chiropractor at HealthGuard Wellness, Toowoomba, and a member of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia.

Topics:  chiropractor health hormones sleep

Young children lived in house with drug making

With Pershouse behind the wheel, police tried to intercept the stolen car at Burnett Heads on September 26, activating lights and sirens.

During the crime spree she also failed to stop for police

First doctors to work at our hospital for entire intern

HANDS ON: New medical interns at Hervey Bay Hospital, Drs Simon Ma, Fathima Cassim, Kuan Ming Tan, Cassandra Steel, Winnie Lee, Matthew Cozier, Kendra Coufal and Tim Oksanen.

The eight doctors are the first permanent interns.

Works on Walker St worth the wait for business owners

STILL OPEN: Stage two of Maryborough's Walker Street roadworks will continue until May. Michelle Byrne of Michelle's Cutting Edge and Kelley Nancarrow of Kelley's Nails of Excellence want customers to know they will have parking and access in St Clair Avenue during road closures.

'If it gets too bad...we'll still do deliveries.'

Local Partners

Plan to ‘electrocute’ drowsy truck drivers slammed

FOLLOWING a spate of deadly crashes, the NSW Roads Minister suggested truckies should be zapped if their eyes drift from the road.

Mother duck sorts out her surfing chicks quack-smart

IT'S HOT: A family of ducks cools off in a Sarina backyard.

The four duckings were 'surfing' as their parents watched

‘Disgusting’: Creepy delivery driver’s texts

A copy of the text messages sent to her phone.

The driver called himself “a fan” and even said “goodnight baby”

Has Vegemite thrown another bad idea on the barbie?

Vegemite no longer bears the Kraft name.

Could lamb, cheese and Vegemite sausages take over Australia Day?

Terminator, a fast Hyundai and karaoke: Detroit motor show

Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche and Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger launch the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

While lacking in supercar stars, Hollywood stepped up.

Tiffiny Hall loses 21kg in four months after giving birth

Tiffiny Hall gained 30kg during her pregancy, but since giving birth in September she has lost 21kg.

SHE gained 30kg during her difficult first pregnancy