Sleep is Life!

You Can Sleep When You’re Dead…


36% of life is spent asleep (if you live to 90 = 32 years). Sleep is when most healing and regenerating happens yet we are sleeping 2 hours less per night than humans did 100 years ago. Relying on sleeping pills now more than ever yet there is an epidemic of sleep deprivation. In the 1950’s most of us slept 8 hours per night, but since the 1980’s it has been victimised and overtaken by the mind set “you can sleep when you’re dead”, which shouldn’t be the only time we expect to have a good night’s sleep… It is not an indulgence or luxury. Sleep is a necessity to keep our brain & body functioning as close to 100% as possible!


Why is sleep so important?


The human brain is still mother nature’s biggest mystery and there is a lot of conflicting information about why sleep is important, but scientists have the general consensus that sleep is as important to health as good nutrition, exercise and stress management. The human body is an amazing thing and at night our sleep is restoring, replacing, rebuilding and memory learning while we close our eyes.


We need sleep before and after learning to hit ‘save the button’. Albert Einstein and Mozart were big believers of ‘sleeping on it’. A study of a sleep group vs sleep deprivation group was a great demonstration of this. Participants learnt new facts brain activity was measured via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the following day. This showed a 40% deficit of ability to make new memories without sleep. It could be the difference in acing an exam or failing miserably. Teenagers need 9 hours for their brains to fully function, yet on average they’re getting 5 hours on a school night.


Sleep is just as essential for the cardiovascular system as it is for the brain. The greatest study for this is daylight savings every year. All it takes is one hour. You could call this a 1.6 billion people study across 70 countries (daylight savings). By losing that hour, we see a 24% increase in heart attacks the next day. Gaining an hour in Autumn we see a 21% decrease in heart attacks. A similar profile is noted for car crashes and suicide rates, all because of 1 hour less sleep!


Natural Killer Cells decrease when you’re not sleeping enough. When we reduce sleep to 4 hours, we notice a 70% drop in immune system cell production. Currently, studies show sleep deprivation as a strong risk factor for cancer – the link is so strong that the World Health Organisation has placed ‘night shift work’ as a carcinogen. Shorter sleep = shorter life.


How do you know if you’re sleep deprived?


Do you need an alarm clock? Do you take ages to get up in the morning? Get told by colleagues you look tired? Rely on stimulants like coffee or energy drinks?


Does magnesium really help?


Your body does not produce magnesium; therefore, it needs to come from outside sources (dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, legumes, organic grass fed meat, unprocessed wholegrains). In our clinical experience,  people are magnesium deficient which can lead to muscle dysfunction, reduced quality of sleep, inflammation, poor cardiovascular health and bone density, increased inflammation…the list goes on. Talk to our staff about our magnesium supplements to see if it’s right for you.


8 Tips to a Good Night Sleep:


  • Get checked and adjusted for Subluxations
  • Sunlight exposure first thing in the morning and less blue light exposure 1 hour before bed
  • Stay away from stimulants after 4pm.
  • Make your room cool (18deg C optimal) and dark.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Regularity of sleep pattern (no matter what day of week),
  • Healthy Spine & Nervous System
  • Wholefood diet (with lots of dark leafy greens) – high in magnesium!
  • Exercise for 30-60 minutes per day.
  • Get Checked and adjusted for Subluxations


Our Chiropractors will be happy to talk you through any of the tips above, but their expertise is in allowing your nervous system to function at its optimal potential. Many patients have noticed improving sleeping patterns when their central nervous system is balanced. Our Heart Rate Variability examination is a great tool to reveal imbalances between the sympathetic (stress) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) branches of the nervous system. Ask for one at your next check.  If you are a new patient this is done on your first visit.


One in five kiwi workers are unhappy with work related stress and 35% note sleep loss because of it. If the nervous system is sympathetic/stress dominant, regular chiropractic adjustments can help bring about more balance and make the body adaptable to stress resulting in improved sleep.


Dr Hayes Woodmen will be taking an Advanced Talk on Sleep on Wednesday August 7th 6:45pm. Talk to the front desk team to secure your place!