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Dr. Fedich Discusses “Rules” for Healthy Sleep

Darren Kincaid Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hello, everybody. Dr. James Fedich here, Clinic director at Village Family Clinic. If you don't know, we are Hackettstown, New Jersey’s premiere Chiropractic clinic, and are one of the area's largest healthcare providers. We have multiple chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and medical pain management here for all your healthcare needs.

In this video, we're talking about sleeping. So, we see a lot of patients here in our Hackettstown chiropractic clinic who have trouble sleeping, so we're gonna give you some sleep tips, tips to get you to sleep better and some general tips about sleeping with proper positioning.

There's a lot of people with insomnia, which means you're not getting enough sleep, and there's a couple different problems. There’re really two major problems with sleep: we're having trouble falling asleep and we're having trouble staying asleep. So, there's different problems in there. This is a complex issue that we need to consult with you to talk a little bit about it, but there are usually a couple things going on.

The number one reason people do not sleep well is actually muscle aches and pain. So, you're waking up because your back hurts, your neck hurts, you're rolling on your shoulder and it hurts ... some physical problem is actually the number one reason why we're not getting a good night's sleep. So, you're having a physical problem: back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder problems, anything like that, give us a call--(908) 813-8200--we'll fix that up for you and that'll probably help you out.

In addition, there's some other good tips I'd like to give you today, just general sleep problems versus a physical problem. The number one is electronics. We're all on iPhones, iPads, and computers all the time. Just had a guy in recently, "I'm having trouble sleeping Doc, you know, I can't sleep...not sleeping well." I talked a little bit about this kind of stuff and it turns out he leaves his iPad on and he's getting email alerts all night and of course it's waking him up multiple times per night and he's just not getting a good night's sleep. So, rule #1 for getting a good night's sleep is turning electronics off an hour before bedtime. Phones off, iPads off, no TVs on in the room an hour before bedtime. All that light--it gets complicated--but the light stimulating hormones in the brain keeping you awake and active. The body thinks there's sunlight out there and wants to be awakened, so turn all electronics off an hour before bedtime is rule number one.

Rule #2, we don't want to eat or drink anything an hour before bed, so if you're used to eating a midnight snack, late night stack, drinking a big water, then you've got to get up and go to the bathroom. So, no food or drinking an hour before bedtime.

Your room environment is very important, so a couple things in general concerning the temperature. A lot of us are sleeping way too warm, whether it's the summer or winter, most people are sleeping too warm. I adjust sleep temperatures below 70 degrees where a lot of people set the room temperature at 72 or 70. If your room's at 70, then you're under the blankets and then you're gonna be 75 degrees as your body heat's trapped in there. There's a lot of different strategies for that. The best thing for most you is just keep the room a little bit cooler. Myself, we use something called the chilly pad at home where it circulates water underneath you and it helps regulate your body temperature within a degree so you don't heat up in the middle of the night. So there's obviously that. Bottom line is, most of us sleep better when it's a lot cooler. Even if the room's in the 70s, you might think that's kind of cool, but your body heats up, warming you up. Even when it's 69, 70, you're underneath the blanket and all your body heat's retained all night. If you have a partner with you, the additional body heat is just getting you warmer and warmer. So, a lot of us just need to cool off, sleep a little bit cooler, maybe less clothes, we’ve got to get a little cooler in our sleep.

In summary, no electronics, no food, and no drink an hour before bedtime. And, get the room a little bit cooler. These are some of the easy tips to help you sleep better..

The next tip we're gonna talk a little bit about is going to be sleep positions. So, a lot of people don't know how to sleep, which I get asked probably 10-15 times a day, "How should I sleep?" or "What position should we sleep in?" So, we'll go through a couple of those things right now as well.

Rule #1, we never want to sleep on our stomach. There's just about no good way to sleep on your stomach. It's gonna put strain on the neck and it's hard to breathe properly. It's really not a good idea to sleep on your stomach and for the women out there, they say it gives you wrinkles quicker if you sleep on your stomach. That's the way I get my women patients to stop doing that. So, you can sleep on your back or your side. Either way's fine. People ask me which way is better. It's hard to change a habit one way or the other. If sleep on your stomach, the easiest way I found to change that habit is to get those long body pillows at Target or something. Just those big, long, inexpensive pillows, and start putting it underneath you and it'll start gently turning you off of your stomach. So side or back is okay, whatever is better for you.

I know some people have trouble snoring and things when they're sleeping on their back. Sometimes that indicates you might have an issue that needs to be looked at. So, if you're snoring a lot and your partner says you kind of stop breathing in the night, you could have something called sleep apnea where you're not getting optimal sleep, which is waking you up, which is actually a very serious medical problem. So, if you have severe snoring and your partner says that you're kind of not breathing in the middle of night, you want to get a sleep study done to make sure that it's not an issue. But sleeping on your side or back is okay, and we're gonna go over some of that stuff right now.

So, on your side most people are using too many pillows. This is our water pillow here that we have at the office. I find a lot of people sleep on their side or their back and they've got two or three pillows. When you sleep on your side with two pillows like this, you end up kind of cranking your neck up and putting stress on the neck and then you come in here with neck pain. So, one of the things we recommend is one good pillow. A normal pillow you gonna find at the store is probably not going to give you enough support. One of the pillows that we have here is this water-based pillow and basically what you do is you fill up water level based on how big you or how firm you are. The more water, the more firm, the more support you're going to get. Less water for smaller people...less support...but we just have one pillow. Another nice thing about the water is it's nice and heavy and doesn't slide around to move around. We use these at the clinic. They're a good idea but a firmer side is one good pillow. Now the average pillow at Target is probably not going to give you enough support, like this one here, is not gonna be enough support for me so you need the water-filled pillow. When you sleep on your side, you wanna sleep as flat as possible. Again, you want to have a better pillow than this. That's why my head's up a little bit. A lot of times with our lower back patients, we'll tell them just a little support in between the knees. So, a small pillow like this right above the knees to help keep these hips straight. You can see my hips are pretty straight now. If I take that pillow out we're kind of twisting a little bit. That can put some stress to lower back, hips, pelvis, and all that kind of jazz.

When you sleep on your back, it's just real simple. There's not much to it. You sleep straight on your back. Put your arms wherever you want but you don't want them up here (by the head). All you need is one good pillow. Most people have two or three crummy pillows, or one crummy pillow, but it's one, good, supportive pillow when you sleep on your back or side.

Most of these are simple sleep tips. It's not always that easy. Physical problems are a big reason why people don't sleep. You don't realize your neck or back aches are waking you up. That happens to a lot of patients out there, so if you have something...a little neck ache during the might not be bothering you too much but it's keeping you awake at night or waking you up. So, get any those kinds of problems checked out. Call the clinic at (908) 813-8200. We can fix any of that kind of stuff for you. Other than that, no food or drinking and hour before bedtime, no electronics an hour before bedtime, try to go to bed a little earlier, as well. Early to bed, early to rise is always good advice for most of us. No electronics, no food, nothing else an hour before bed. You want a nice, calm, relaxing bedroom. Get the temperature down. Most of us are sleeping when it's way too warm...72 degrees in you want to cool that down a little bit and sleep a little cooler. With respect to sleep positions, be on our back or side. One good pillow up top. If you're on your side, a little know pillow is okay. If you have a bad lower back, I suggest you sleep on your back with pillow or two underneath the knees to elevate them so you can take some pressure off the spine, as well.

So, basically these are our sleep tips. Obviously, you can come in and we can delve into this a little bit more but hopefully that helped you out a little bit at home. If you have any questions, check out our website at or give us a call right away (908) 813-8200.

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