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Posted on 02-23-2011

An old Chinese proverb states, "Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is." Anyone who's ever experienced an occasional bout with insomnia - and that's most of us - can relate to this all too well.

In fact, surveys have shown that between 40 and 60 percent of the general population has trouble sleeping. Daily stress and worries, pressures from job and family, body aches and pains caused by uncomfortable beds or pillows, and a host of other issues can keep a person from getting enough quality sleep.

Sleep is critical to good health and functioning, so lack of it is a serious matter. "Sleep is one of the most important functions of the brain," says Dr. Andrew Dixon, of Dixon Center.  Through it, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day's challenges.

As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleeping problems - without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. To start, here are a few helpful tips I would recommend for the sleepless in Nashville.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercising in the morning is best, but if you must    exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime. Any later, and your increased heart rate can interfere with your sleep.
  • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea - try to avoid them altogether late in the day and near bedtime. In addition, for each cup of caffeinated beverages you drink each day, drink an equal amount of water.
  • If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).
  • Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you've eaten.

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