‘‘I know 2am,
I know it backwards, inside out.
I know the tread of tired tip-toes
That against the silence shouts …’’
(Erin Hanson, 2015)
If your answer is yes, then you’ll know that a night without sleep can seem like an eternity when you’re tossing and turning; the following day a challenge as you resist the urge to succumb to your drooping eyelids.
We all know that sleep is an essential component of human life, and unless you’re Tom Hanks in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, insomnia won’t bring anything good your way.
Scientific research has demonstrated that sleep deprivation can impair attention, long-term memory and decision making; and that sleep is important for body restitution, such as tissue recovery (Alhola and Polo-Kantola, 2007).
Unfortunately, we don’t sell spinning wheels, but the good news is, our practitioners may be able to help …
Here’s some general advice from our osteopaths –
- Stick to a regular sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Eliminate caffeine after 2pm and alcohol within 3 hours before bedtime.
- Stop exercising 4 hours before bedtime.
- Relax before bed, perhaps with a bath, quiet music, gentle yoga or meditation.
- Write down any worries before going to bed to remove them from your thoughts.
How can osteopathy help?
Our osteopaths like to look at the person as a whole. Looking at all aspects of a patient’s life helps the practitioner pin-point the origin of an issue, and ensures the treatment is tailored to each individual.
During a consultation, we want to know how your sleep is affected. Is it difficult to get to sleep, maintain sleep or do you wake up too early? We can then provide a treatment plan specific to you.
Pain and sleep are integrally connected. Pain can keep you awake at night, and the less sleep you get, the more intense your pain may feel; it’s a vicious cycle. Our osteopaths will try to reduce any inflammation and pain in the affected area. We can then give you advice on the correct sleeping environment, and information about the best sleeping posture.
We’ve found stress is a common cause of sleepless nights. Patients have found that osteopathic treatment not only alleviates pain, but also relaxes the body, which in turn calms the mind down, enhancing sleep.
Babies and Children
Our lead practitioner Ami conducted a Masters Research project on the effect of osteopathic treatment on sleep patterns in children. He found that osteopathy appeared to be effective in those cases where there is an underlying structural cause or associated functional disorder.
Our cranial osteopaths see many babies who had a difficult delivery, which has led to discomfort, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.
Difficulty in childbirth may lead to tension in the bony and membranous casing inside the baby’s skull. This tension keeps the baby’s nervous system in a constant state of alertness, meaning sleeping is troublesome. Essentially, the osteopath will seek to correct any damage or slight alterations during childbirth, relieving some of this tension.
“After acupuncture, I usually have a few nights of calm and peaceful sleep” – Patient testimonial.
The British Acupuncture Council state that most trials have found that acupuncture is significantly more effective at helping people sleep than hypnotic drugs such as benzodiazepines.
Acupuncture can help by –
- Rebalancing energy within the body.
- Calming the mind, balancing hormones and settling the nervous system.
All of which may help you gain a good nights sleep.
Massage and Reflexology
Research has shown that the deep state of relaxation that is induced during treatments such as massage and reflexology can help to restore sleep patterns. By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, the body goes into a state of rest, encouraging you to naturally drift off into sleep. The power of touch, combined with the release of knots and tension, intensifies the experience. Our patients will often fall asleep during the treatment session.
Reflexology can also naturally encourage the secretion of Melatonin from the pineal gland, assisting in the stabilisation of the sleep cycle.
In 2014, BBC Science stated that 25% of the UK population suffered from a sleep disorder. If you are one of those people, then perhaps osteopathy, acupuncture or massage could help.
If you have any further questions, or you would like some more advice, then please get in touch with us. You can call us on 0113 237 1173 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you promptly.