Did you know that 20-30% of the population suffer from insomnia?
With 10-20% classified as “clinically significant”.
Amongst those in pain, these rates are even higher and may show association, cause or effect?
That can be hard to tell.
Either way, once it is established, you have to break the vicious cycle.
One of the first things we do with patients is assess sleep via our ACN health intake form.
Because it can be a road block to recovery for chronic patients and because compliance is high.
Everyone knows they should get more sleep.
They just need a little help and some accountability to get there.
Today we are going to give you a simple trick to try with some of your sleepless patients.
Melatonin is the sleep molecule that our pineal gland releases when it starts to get dark.
And this is where modern life has given us some issues.
The part of daylight that tells our brain we should be awake and stops melatonin release is blue light.
As the sun goes down, blue light disappears, or at least it should do.
The problem is that blue light is found in lightbulbs.
But in even higher amounts in TV’s and, of course, in our mobile phones.
These are blasting our retinas with blue light and our pineal gland has the breaks on for melatonin release.
Now, phones are a problem as they are also very stimulating via social media apps and other media apps like YouTube.
The makers of these apps know how to keep you engaged and addicted.
That means you can find yourself endlessly scrolling through apps, feeling tired but wired.
Yes, you are physically tired but your brain just wants another hit of dopamine.
So I always encourage people to put their phone away by 9ish and put it somewhere they will not see it again until the morning.
They are so addictive, just seeing them can be a trigger for picking them up and checking your stuff.
So put it in the spare room, or stick it in a draw out of sight.
Do not leave it lying around.
Checking your phone in bed is a terrible idea, too stimulating!
Ideally, some active relaxation is best before bed, reading being the best option for most.
You have to engage and do the reading, with TV and phone it is done to you so you can go way past the point of fatigue, just one more episode on netflix…..
One way we can get around the issue of blue light is a pair of blue light blockers.
These are all the rage now, but back in 2015 ish, I looked like I was a huge Steven Seagal and Ali G fan.
Now we can get everything sorted with sexy glasses.
The amber/orange tints block out the blue light and tell your brain it is night time and, hey presto, you start releasing your melatonin.
So is this all theory or we have something to back it up?
The answer is we do now.
A RCT on amber blue blocking lens vs clear lens was done on teenage boys playing consoles.
The results clearly show a much higher release of melatonin within 30 mins of wearing the lens.
BB = Blue blockers
CL = Clear lens
I will say gaming before bed probably isn’t the best for winding down before bed, nor is social media, which are consistently linked to poor sleep and anxiety.
Why should we as neuromechanical practitioners care?
Because of the link between insomnia and pain.
In experimental conditions, they deliberately stop people sleeping in one group vs normal sleep and, hey presto, their pain thresholds drop.
Imagine that, but in the long term and their response to the neuromechanical care you are delivering into a hypersensitive nervous system.
That is exactly why resolving insomnia is a key protocol in the Core Concepts in Chiropractic Nutrition course.
FYI we will open up again in September, for another cohort of practitioners ready to join the evolution of neuromechanical care.