December 2019 Newsletter: Sleep Hygiene

by Dr. Danielle Tomko

If I were to ask who felt fully rested when they woke up this morning, chances are most people would say no. At one time or another, and often chronically, most of us have been sleep deprived. Do you get enough sleep?

The CDC recommends at least 7 hours of sleep per night for the average adult, and the amount of recommended sleep increases for younger and elder populations. Newborns need up to 17 hours of sleep per day, and school aged children need 9-12 hours per day.

What if you think you are sleeping for sufficient amounts of time, but you are still not feeling well-rested when you wake up? It is, unfortunately, possible to have sufficient sleep that lacks quality. Some signs that you might be sleeping poorly include pauses in breathing, snoring, mouth breathing, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and difficulty waking up with alarms.

There are countless signs of sleep deprivation, but some of them include:

▪ Memory issues
▪ Trouble thinking or concentrating
▪ Mood changes and irritability
▪ Accidents, clumsiness, and poor balance
▪ Weakened immunity
▪ Increased blood pressure, weight gain, risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

There are many tips to improve sleep quality, and they are actually quite reasonable to implement into our day-to-day lives. Try them one at a time in order to steadily build healthy sleep habits:

▪ Sleep in a comfortable room. It should be dark, quiet, and cool at about 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
▪ Finish exercising at least 2 hours before bed. While light exercise, such as yoga, can be relaxing, strenuous exercise increases wakefulness for up to two hours. It is advised to exercise in the morning, afternoon, or early evening to deepen sleep at night.
▪ Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for 3-4 hours before bed. All of these have stimulant effects, even alcohol! While alcohol can have more immediate effects in causing sleepiness, it actually has a stimulant effect as it is metabolized, causing wakefulness.
▪ Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Electronics and some other sources of artificial light emit light with a blue wavelength. Although blue light is actually beneficial during the day because it boosts attention, reaction time, and mood, it is detrimental at night for the same reasons. Better to allow the mind to relax than cause it to be on “high alert” while trying to sleep!
▪ Keep a consistent sleep routine that allows for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm that actually gets used to sleep patterns. This sleep-wake cycle is our bodies’ way of recognizing the need for sleep and when we have had sufficient sleep.
▪ Reserve the bedroom for sleeping so your body and mind can associate the two together. Avoiding distractions, such as television, smart phones, tablets, and even stressful conversations can help to separate sleep from the rest of your day.
▪ Avoid napping during the day. One short power nap of about 30 minutes can be quite beneficial for an extra energy boost during the day, but any more sleep during the day is likely to make you less tired when it is time to go to sleep at night.
reading at night
▪ If you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep in 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed, leave the room, and do something to distract yourself from the inevitable worry of not sleeping. Activities should be quiet, relaxing, and performed in a relatively dark room. A good example is some light reading. Most of the time, you will be ready to go back to sleep within 20 minutes!

Sleep difficulties are common, but there are many habits we can form to improve the quality of our sleep. If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling well rested in the morning, ask your chiropractor for tips on naturally getting a better night’s sleep. Interestingly, there have been many recent advancements in craniosacral and craniofacial adjustments. Ask your chiropractor if these protocols might be right for you.


Office News

We are switching software to enable on line scheduling to reflect real time availability. However, right now we do not have online scheduling available.

The office will be closed Christmas Eve afternoon, Christmas day, New Year’s Eve afternoon and New Year’s Day.

Please be on the lookout for a class on sleep hygiene by “Start with Sleep”. Let the desk know if you would like an alert as to when to sign up.

Don’t forget gift certificates are available for any dollar amount. Why not buy a massage for next year?

Recipe of the Month:

Vegan Cauliflower Mac Cheese


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time 25 mins
Serves 4

4 cups elbow macaroni
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
½ cup nutritional yeast
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Paprika, as garnish (optional)
Vegan parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Add in the chopped cauliflower and carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until softened. Drain, and add to a food processor or high speed blender.
  3. Add in the oil, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Process/blend until smooth.
  4. Add cheese sauce to your pot full of drained pasta and mix well.
  5. Serve, with a sprinkle of vegan parmesean cheese and some paprika, if desired.

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