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Helping Low Back Pain and Cycling Injuries

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A Pain in the Tailbone

Most of us don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about our spines – that is, until a problem occurs. It’s when the pain sets in that we go about trying to learn all we can about where the issue is coming from, and most importantly: what we can do to start feeling better. If you’ve ever experienced tailbone pain, you know how serious the discomfort can be. 

But not many know much about the tailbone area. It’s made up of the last vertebrae of the spinal column. Earlier in life, these vertebrae are moveable just like anywhere else in the spine. As adults, however, these vertebrae in the tailbone fuse together. At the latest, the tailbone is typically fused by the time a person turns 30.

The tailbone can be a serious source of pain due to trips and falls. Often, the pain is idiopathic, meaning that healthcare providers can’t locate the cause.

The tailbone is also referred to as the coccyx. It looks like an inverted triangle with the widest part at the top and a smaller pointy end at the bottom. As the lowest point in the spinal column, the tailbone interacts with several other vital structures in the body.

It is part of the support when you’re in a seated position, providing you with stability and balance. Plus, many pelvic floor muscles connect to the tailbone. 

Why Pain Sets In 

If you’re experiencing discomfort in the tailbone, there are a few common reasons: 

  • Limited mobility. If your coccyx doesn’t move like it should, it will jut out when sitting, putting too much pressure on the bones. This limited movement can even cause your pelvic floor muscles to tense up, adding to the pain. 
  • Hypermobility. If the coccyx moves more than it should, it adds stress to the entire area, including the pelvic floor muscles. Along with tailbone pain, you may experience pelvic pain. 
  • Dislocation. Part of the tailbone can become dislocated, which will cause pain. 
  • Idiopathy. Sometimes, there is no reason that can be found for tailbone pain. This can only be diagnosed if every other possible cause is ruled out. 
  • Coccydynia. Trauma to the tailbone leads to inflammation and pain. The causes of coccydynia include trauma, repetitive stress and childbirth. 
  • Referred pain. Just because you have pain in a certain area doesn’t mean it stems from a problem in that same area. It’s no different with the tailbone. Injury or inflammation elsewhere in the spine or pelvis could cause tailbone pain. 

What to Do?

There are various options for resolving tailbone-related pain. When the pain first sets in, try an ice pack or cold pack. It will help to reduce inflammation, which occurs when an injury has initially occurred. If the pain has been present for more than a few days, you might find relief from a heating pad, which can help relieve muscle tension.

It’s also worth considering visiting a practitioner well-versed in the health of the spine. As a Chiropractor, we can evaluate your condition and make the most appropriate recommendations according to our expertise. No matter the cause behind your pain, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified practitioner who can help you to get back on the road to health. 

 

Cycling and Chiropractic

Whether you are an avid cyclist or someone who enjoys a recreational bike ride with your friends or family, cycling is an excellent form of exercise. However, any form of cycling leaves you prone to injury. All forms of biking are not without the risk of injury – whether it’s from a fall, overused joints or muscles, improper balance, or poor posture habits. Cycling, like all forms of exercise, the physical stress can take a toll on ligaments, tendons, nerves, muscles, and joints. The crucial part here is that your spine is the part of your body that requires the most attention because all other cycling movements radiate from your core and spine, causing misalignment. 

What is The Solution?

This is where we come in to help with preventative and reactive measures to existing injuries. 

Chiropractors can treat the most common cycling injuries, like:

  • Wrist/Hand/Forearm: This includes numbness and pain, elbow dislocation, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), ulnar neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Cyclist’s Palsy.
  • Shoulder: This includes AC joint sprains and clavicle fractures.
  • Back/Neck: This includes tightness in the neck and lower back pain, as well as piriformis syndrome, when the piriformis muscle cramps and presses on the sciatic nerve, causing buttock pain or sciatica.
  • Knee/Leg: This includes Cyclist’s Knee (Patellofemoral syndrome), patella and quadriceps tendonitis, medial plica syndrome, and iliotibial band friction, which either affect the kneecaps or outer knees. This also includes Achilles tendonitis and thigh and hip flexor strain.
  • Foot: This includes numbness and tingling, plantar fasciitis in the heel, and arch pain.
  • Muscles: Muscle pain includes soreness that lasts and goes away in 24 hours and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that lasts longer than 24 hours.

The truth is that all forms of activity come with long lists of potential injuries. Cycling also comes with a long list of significant effects on the body. Cyclists have reported improved overall cardio, range of motion, heart rate variability, muscle strength, and athletic ability. Essentially people report becoming stronger and faster with ease. 

Preventative Care

The best preventative work comes when you include regular Chiropractic care in your regimen. Regular chiropractic care can prevent many injuries due to falls or improper technique.

Here are some tips to help prevent some of these injuries:

  1. Always stretch before a ride.
  2. Adjust your seat height, so it’s not too high or too low.
  3. Knees should be aligned with your feet at 90 degrees when riding.
  4. Make sure your bike is fitted correctly to you. Everyone has a different arm length, leg size, and posture; try out several bikes of different sizes to determine which frame size and other features are a good fit.
  5. Avoid hunching your shoulders.
  6. Use the entire pedal stroke completely to avoid pointed toes and tired and cramped calves.
  7. Adjust your handle grip frequently.
  8. Don’t constantly tilt your head to one side.
  9. Stay hydrated.
  10. Stay warm in cold weather.

Cycling is an activity that can (and should) be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s something we can look forward to with the changing seasons and often brings a refreshing start to spring after some long winter months.

Including us as part of your cycling routine and ensuring you have correctly fitted safety gear is the most essential part of this journey, aside from the fun you will have.

It’s time to get outside – here are tips to enjoy gardening and golfing

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6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Garden

For many of us, gardening is a necessary and cathartic part of our summer routine. Walking, hiking, enjoying new hobbies, and gardening remain the number one way people have remained limber over the last few years. Thankfully, these are all fantastic ways to maintain our mental wellness.

With this being said, it is also not unusual for people to overdo it. Improving, changing, or starting a landscaping project has become popular, which has increased physical activity. This also means an increase in aches and pains if you aren’t mindful of how you move your body.

I’ve compiled a few tips to help you maximize your love for gardening while minimizing the risk of experiencing pain. 

  1. Warm-up/Stretch – Many of us have gone from not having time to engage in hours of gardening daily to having nothing but time to replot our entire yards. Our bodies aren’t accustomed to so much activity or this type of activity. Just as we would prepare our bodies for a new workout, we must prepare our bodies for gardening. All it takes is a few light stretches and some moving to ensure we will not cause an injury. Ask us what the best course of action is for you before proceeding; it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive!
  2. Drink Water – Staying hydrated is one of the most important steps when working outside. It’s easy to lose track of time, and dehydration can quickly become serious. Always ensure you have water and take a break every 20-30 minutes. Set the alarm on your phone as a reminder, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a stretch with every water break.
  3. Take Breaks – Speaking of water breaks, breaks, in general, are essential. Gardening is strenuous work, and you’ll likely get caught up in completing tasks and lose track of time. Pay attention to your body’s cues, and ensure you are pacing yourself and snacking throughout the day. If you use a timer, set it for every 20-30 minutes to have a washroom break, drink some water, stretch, have a snack, and get your blood circulating.
  4. Be Mindful of Large Loads – Bags of soil, mulch, and carrying large planters are a recipe for a back injury if you aren’t careful. If you must, ensure you are bending at your knees and waist. Use your legs to do the heavy lifting rather than your back. In the best-case scenario, you’ll have a wheelbarrow or a buggy to transfer heavy items to the garden. If available, have someone help you with the lifting. And whatever you do, do not lift a heavy item and twist – this can lead to pinched nerves, muscle injuries, and pain that can take weeks to relieve.
  5. Be present – Spending time planning and maintaining a garden can bring joy. The experience of cultivating and watching your garden or landscaping project come together and grow can be very satisfying. Watering and fertilizing plants, seeing flowers bloom, maintaining a rich growing environment, and being outdoors in the fresh air go unmatched when it comes to self-care. Don’t spend this time rushing through your thoughts and thinking of what you are doing next. Instead, be present in every moment and enjoy your creation!
  6. Move From Task to Task – Instead of concentrating on one job at a time, move around the garden and vary your tasks to avoid holding the same position for extended periods. This will also allow you to keep your circulation moving and prevent cramping.

Overall, gardening is an excellent use of your time. It allows you to feel productive, spend time outdoors, keep moving, and hopefully have the garden of your dreams by the time you’re finished. These tasks are significant for your body and your mental wellness when you are outside your routine.

If you run into trouble with sudden pain or achiness that is outside the norm or require some guidance with stretches and movements to help you remain agile – call us to see how we can assist you.

 

Can Chiropractic Improve My Golf Game?

If you are a golf lover, I know there is nothing better than gathering with a group of friends and spending the day on the golf course, especially if it is followed by a meal at the clubhouse and some great conversation!

If you have ever suffered a golfing injury mid-day, you also know how this can ruin what was supposed to be a fun and relaxing time! The repetitive, controlled movements can wreak havoc on your joints and muscles, and if you have any pre-existing conditions or injuries, now is the time they may be aggravated. Golfing injuries occur at the most inconvenient moments, so let’s discuss how you can prevent them with the help of a Chiropractor.

Injuries are like Accidents

There’s no good or bad time for an injury, but let’s get into how we can help you prevent injuries and improve your golf game. Joints and muscles are used for that perfect stroke from your neck to your ankles. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, your risk of injury is more significant than if you are naturally active.

There are many ways Chiropractic can help improve your game, including:

  • Reduced back pain
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better biomechanical function, improving overall functionality
  • Increased and improved range of motion
  • Improved posture, meaning improved form

How Can Chiropractic Prevent Injuries?

Regular stretching and exercise, along with adjustments, are always the best course of action. It’s common knowledge that even 30 minutes of exercise a day 3-5 times a week will dramatically improve how your body functions and recovers, but stretching is equally as important. Flexibility allows for a greater range of motion and allows the muscles to stretch naturally without overextending.

A critical piece of this prevention comes with making stretching a part of your routine before you begin a game. Warm muscles are more limber, meaning those first few shots may not be as chaotic as they once were. Getting the blood flowing and getting the group of people you’re with moving before the game is a fun warm-up exercise for everyone. 

It Starts With a Simple Conversation

Talk to us about the best stretches before and after a game; your golf stretches may not be the same as your cycling stretches or gardening stretches!

Aside from consulting with us about an individualized pre-golf plan, your muscles and joints need lots of water to prevent dehydration and reduce muscle pain the following day. Water is essential if you include alcoholic beverages in your golf day, as alcohol is very dehydrating.

Golf is a great sport, and the social aspect makes it a fun way to get in some low-impact exercise and great conversation. It is a mind/body workout that will make you smile and improve your sleep. 

The next time you are at our office, ask about a streamlined approach to exercise, stretching, and adjustments to help improve your golf game.

Stand For Health, Are Supplements Necessary

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Five Reasons to Sit Less

Technology is incredible. It’s connected the world in ways we could have never dreamed about just a couple of decades ago. But there’s a dark side of technology when it comes to our health, both physically and mentally. One aspect to consider is the harmful effects of sitting. 

In the 1960s, more than 50% of people had a job that involved moderate physical activity. Today, however, it adds up to less than 15%! That difference means that far too many people today are sedentary and not using their body in the way it was meant to be used. 

The human body was made to move. Not so many years ago, we spent most of our day moving around. Standing and walking prevents repetitive stress and muscle degeneration from taking a toll on our health. 

But that is far from the only reason to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting on any given day. Here are five more great reasons: 

  1. Research shows that inactivity is linked with obesity, Type II diabetes, some cancers, and earlier death. In fact, the World Health Organization ranks physical inactivity as the fourth largest killer in the world! 
  2. You’ll experience lower metabolism. When you sit, it lowers your metabolism. And when your metabolism is low, the body is slow to clear fat out. 
  3. You can avoid experiencing chronic pain. When you sit for too long, pressure is placed on various parts of your body. That includes your lower back, which is a common source of pain for people who sit for much of the day! 
  4. Who wouldn’t want to have more energy? When you move less, you don’t have as much energy. Taking walks and breaks during the day where you get up and move can increase your energy levels. 
  5. Your mental health matters, too. You might not connect sitting and your psychological health right away. But if you’re inside and your only connection to others is via your computer, it can seriously affect your mental well-being, too. 

There is one final component you might want to consider: your posture. When you sit, you put pressure on your lower back, as opposed to standing, when weight is more distributed evenly in the body. The pressure on your lower back causes your pelvis to rotate backwards. In addition, your head often moves into a forward position.

The effects of this? Low back pain, neck pain, headaches, and overall muscle tension. 

There’s another source of help to consult if you are concerned about what sitting might be doing to your body: us. We will will work with you to identify where in your body is being harmed by the effects of sitting, then provide the personalized care you require. In addition, we will be able to offer you useful advice on how to sit without adverse effects on your health, as well as tips on what you can do during your day to make sure your body gets much-needed breaks throughout the day. 

 

Do You Need to Take a Multivitamin? 

Health and wellness is a trillion-dollar industry. Now more than ever, people are taking a vested interest in their own well-being. We’ve seen the popularization of types of exercise such as yoga and Pilates. People are drinking green juices and religiously avoiding junk food. There’s a high level of awareness about which daily choices are helping our health, and harming our health.

Within this, one major component is the supplement industry. Store shelves are packed with vitamins and minerals that are huge sellers. Many supermarkets have an entire section that is solely dedicated to bottle after bottle of nutrition supplementation.

You’ve likely wondered if you need to take a supplement. Or perhaps you already are, but you’re unsure whether it’s doing anything for you!

Are you flushing money down the drain? Or putting in place a much-needed insurance plan? Read on to learn more.

A Lot Depends On Your Everyday Choices

There are plenty of people who love kale…and plenty of people who can’t stand it. The same goes for tons of other nutritious foods, including berries, broccoli, and fish.

If you have a strong dislike of a food that you know is chock-full of nutrients, and you aren’t getting those same nutrients from another source of food, it’s likely a good idea to look into supplementation. Taking a multivitamin is a simple way to make sure that you don’t become deficient.

It should also be stated that our crops today aren’t as nutrient-rich as they once were. Decades of growing in the same soil means that many foods may be depleted, and don’t have the nutrient profile that they once did. For that reason, many health professionals recommend taking a multivitamin no matter how health-conscious you are about what you’re eating.

You should also think about what a lack of a certain nutrient may lead to. If you lack a vital micronutrient, you may experience impaired immune function and have a greater susceptibility to chronic disease and illness.

What to Look Out For

The biggest problem with vitamins is this: the industry isn’t regulated. That means what is on the ingredient label, or even the daily value label, may not match the product inside of the bottle.

Do your research when it comes to vitamins. Some products have an incredibly high quality of nutrients and are vetted by a nonprofit third party, while others have been found to falsify information.

Because of that, a high degree of caution must be exercised when choosing a multivitamin supplement.

That’s not the only reason to be careful reading labels and choosing your multivitamin. It’s not a magic bullet. For example, if you are deficient in calcium or fiber, most multivitamins do not contain these nutrients. You may need to take more than one to make up for what’s missing from your diet.

There’s one other consideration to think about: be sure you’re not going over your recommended daily value for vitamins and minerals without checking with your health provider first.

Secrets to comfortable long car rides and concussion care

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Athletes, Concussions, and Your Chiropractor

We have all heard of concussions, particularly in athletes, but many are unaware of the seriousness of getting a concussion as a result of a sports incident. At times, concussions are overlooked by coaches, players, and even young athletes parents. However, this traumatic brain injury can have long term consequences if it isn’t treated properly. 

How Does a Concussion Affect an Athlete?

A concussion can result from direct or indirect head trauma that can lead to internal bruising, bleeding, tissue damage, increased intra-cranial pressure, and can alter the brain’s ability to function properly. If left untreated (and if it is treated but is severe) this injury could potentially lead to physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms like amnesia, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and headaches.

Longer term effects are often caused by changes in the function of the nervous system. This is why an immediate assessment and the development of a treatment plan are so vital to the recovery process. Returning to your sport too quickly in the recovery process can set you back, especially in cases where multiple concussions have been diagnosed. 

How Can a Chiropractor Help an Athlete Return to Play?

The access to fast assessment and expertise that lead to appropriate care and resources will be the guiding force in how quickly a person can resume regular activities, and eventually sports. The focus here is to heal the injury, and minimize the risk of post-concussion syndrome and persistent symptoms. 

Generally, the protocol before returning to regular scheduled activities includes complete rest initially, then slowly moving into light exercise like swimming or walking. From there, easing into sport specific exercises and non-contact drills can take place while being monitored. At any point if there is a recurrence of symptoms, it is advised that the process is restarted from the very beginning.

The recovery process is something that is closely monitored by us, along with the rest of the healthcare team. The goal is for the athlete to be completely symptom free and to not be depending on medications to modify the symptoms in order to return to their sport.

As with all head injuries, taking close care of the athlete is the most important factor in recovery and should not be rushed. Where some could take up to 10 days to recover, this timeframe could be much lengthier for others. In addition, the number of concussions the athlete has sustained is a determining factor in the length of the recovery process. Multiple concussions can run the risk of cognitive impairments, which is why being serious about recovery is so important.

Musculoskeletal Injuries Are What We Do

We will also assess and manage any musculoskeletal injuries associated with the concussion in order to help you return to your sport. Having us as a part of your healthcare team is what will ensure optimal healing and the ability to functionally return to your training.

Additionally, it is your overall health post concussion that will be the main focus of your treatment moving forward. 

 

5 Tips for Surviving Long Drives

Whether you’re a long distance driver for work, you have a long commute, or you’re gearing up for a road trip; maintaining adequate blood flow will be the key to diminishing stiffness, soreness or pain.  

The average person will spend 2+ hours a week driving, if you live in a big city this can be up to 5 hours sitting in traffic. This combination of prolonged sitting and the stress that traffic can induce is a recipe for stiff shoulders, migraines, and back pain. Taking breaks during road trips is a must, doing some simple stretches during an every day drive can save you from discomfort, and for those who drive for work… it’s all about the breaks AND the stretches. 

Here are 5 tips for surviving those long drives:

  1. Adjust the angle of your seat. The angle of the seat will determine how much pressure is on your spine, along with the reach to the steering wheel with your arms, and the reach to the gas/break with your leg/foot. All of these will contribute to neck and back pain. Your seat should be at around a 75 degree angle. Reclining too much will cause neck pain as the effort required to check blind spots and mirrors will become bothersome. Remaining upright will allow your ears to remain over your shoulders.
  2. Roll your shoulders. Lift your shoulders as if you are trying to touch them to your ears. Then roll them in a circular motion. This will help loosen up tight upper back muscles by lengthening and strengthening them, which will help to relieve tension. This can easily and safely be done while driving.
  3. Take a break. There is no harm in taking the extra time to get to your destination if this means you’re alleviating the potential to feel sore when you arrive. Taking a break to get gas, to get a drink, or to just get up and walk will help to keep your circulation flowing and will loosen up stiff muscles. Feeling ambitious? Do some light stretches – touch your toes, roll your shoulders, stretch your calves, and roll your wrists.
  4. Use a lumbar support. If you send hours a week, or even hours a day driving, a lumbar support will help to dramatically reduce the potential for back pain over long periods of time. Prolonged sitting unfortunately will weaken your back muscles if you aren’t determined to maintain adequate support and prevention through exercise. Not all lumbar supports are created equal, so make sure you purchase one that is the right size and curvature for your body.
  5. Stay hydrated. I know, you’re probably wondering why considering driving doesn’t induce sweating (unless it’s a hot day and there isn’t any air conditioning). But hydration is always important. Your spine has discs filled with fluid that sit in between the bones in your spine. These discs provide cushion so your spine can move freely and without the pain you would experience if the bones were grinding against each other. Staying hydrated allows these fluid filled discs to remain functional.

The Goal is a More Pleasant Commute

Having a pain free commute is always the goal. Having a few tips you are willing to follow during these long drives will allow you to enjoy this part of your day. Listening to your favorite podcast, e-book, or music will help to boost your mood, making this part of the day more enjoyable. 

And of course, regular Chiropractic visits are always a good idea!

Cholesterol and Myths About Chiropractic

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The Most Common Myths About Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a health profession that is typically surrounded by a great deal of misinformation. Even those who have never been to a Chiropractor have heard commonly held beliefs and misconceptions, or pass on stories of others they’ve heard about Chiropractic. And typically, these anecdotes all tend to have a pretty negative slant.

After all, tales that involve negativity seem to catch on far better than positive ones, don’t they?

That’s why it’s so important to bust the myths that surround chiropractic. Here are some of the most common: 

If you see a chiropractor even one single time, you will have to go for the rest of your life.

Clearly, the person who started this one never understood what chiropractors actually do! A first visit always involves a thorough assessment process to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for chiropractic care. It’s true that each visit may  build on the next, adding up to cumulative results. Recommendations for any continuing care, however, are made on an individual basis. What is best for one person will not necessarily be what works best for the next. 

And always, the patient has the power to decide how long they’d like to continue care, stopping whenever you see fit.

Chiropractors are not doctors.

Not true! In fact, Chiropractors are allowed to use the title “doctor” just as any physician, optometrist, or dentist, as long as they hold a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. This type of program involves extensive training and expertise, which includes diagnosis. 

You have to be referred to a Chiropractor by your medical doctor. 

Nope! Chiropractors are considered to be primary contact providers. That means anyone can access a chiropractor directly without having to go through their medical doctor. Since chiropractors are trained in diagnosis, the initial assessment process involves coming to a diagnosis that will determine if chiropractic is right for a specific case. If you have private health insurance, however, note that some plans may have particular rules about getting a referral in order to access coverage.

Chiropractors only see people for back pain.

Most people are surprised to learn about the wide variety of conditions that may respond well to chiropractic care. It’s certainly not limited to an aching back! Chiropractors are knowledgeable in the entire musculoskeletal system and a range of biomechanical issues. In addition to caring for these types of problems, chiropractors can provide people with advice about ergonomics and other aspects of lifestyle that contribute to an individual’s overall levels of wellness.

Evidence doesn’t support that chiropractic care works.

This one couldn’t be further from the truth! It isn’t just single case studies that show how well chiropractic works. There have been significant studies that demonstrate the Chiropractic adjustment as being highly effective in addressing chronic or acute musculoskeletal conditions. There are several clinical practice guidelines that show spinal manipulative therapy is actually the recommended first-line intervention.

In recent decades, more and more people are deciding to begin Chiropractic care. It’s clear that for many, a Chiropractor has been an integral part of people’s health care team.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Cholesterol 

High cholesterol has long been known as a factor in one of our modern age’s biggest killers: cardiovascular disease. Though cholesterol’s bad rap certainly should be considered, it’s important to know what cholesterol actually is – and what you should be doing to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Did you know that your body will make its own cholesterol?

There are two sources of cholesterol: the ones you eat, and the cholesterol your liver makes. This waxy substance shouldn’t be thought of as inherently bad.

Your body will produce about 80% of the cholesterol that is found in your blood. The other 20% is affected by what you’re eating.

Each of us needs cholesterol to build cells, make vitamins, and produce the necessary hormones. That means cholesterol is an absolutely essential ingredient in our health.

Too much cholesterol, however, is what posts a serious problem.

“Bad” Vs.  “Good” Cholesterol 

There are two types of cholesterol: 

  • LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)
  • HDL (High-density lipoprotein)

LDL cholesterol is likely the one you’ve heard most about, since it’s considered to be the “bad” one. This type of cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries, which then narrow and lose their elasticity. When the flow of blood is reduced in the arteries around the heart, it seriously increases the risk of heart attack.

HDL cholesterol, then, is the “good” type. It carries the LDL cholesterol away from the artery walls, which will decrease the risk of heart disease.

The Lifestyle Factors You Need to Consider

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t join the staggering statistics of those affected by high cholesterol? 

  1. Watch your dietary habits. Cut out the processed foods and add in more whole foods. You don’t want to eat pre-packaged food if you can help it. Fill your plate with half vegetables and some fruits at every meal, then add in the other elements. The fruits and vegetables are the real nutrition powerhouses on your plate! 
  2. Cut out the sugary beverages. When thirsty, reach for water, not other types of beverages that can negatively affect your health. Even the beverages that are marketed as healthy either contain heaps of sugar, or sugar alternatives that are terrible for the body. 
  3. Cook more at home. Try to avoid what seems like the easy route of going to restaurants or getting take-out frequently. When you’re at home, you control what goes on your plate and how it’s made. Bonus points for involving the whole family in meal prep! 
  4. Stay mobile. Research shows that you can improve your cholesterol levels by being physically active. Aim for about a half-hour of physical activity per week. There is no “best” form of exercise – just choose something you like, whether cycling, swimming, gardening, or going for walks. Even if you aren’t currently as active as you’d like, start slowly with walks around the yard, and build up until your body is more able to sustain regular movement.

If you are looking for even more tips on being healthy, be sure to ask next time you are in for a Chiropractic visit.

Stretch for health, dangers of hidden sugar

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5 Easy Tips to Cut your Sugar Intake

Do you know when the last time you ate sugar was?

Chances are good that your mind jumps right to a donut, candy, or soda that you’ve had recently.

And while those are certainly sources of sugar, there are likely plenty more that you aren’t aware of. Many people in today’s busy world need quick, processed foods when it comes to dinner or snacks during the day. These products, however, typically contain plenty of added sugar.

So why should that be a cause for concern?

More and more, research is showing that the intake of added sugars is on the rise, along with major killers like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease. In fact, the consumption of added sugars has even been implicated in an increased risk of cognitive decline, so there is even a mental component to consider!

In our diets, some top sources of added sugar include fruit drinks (even ones that seem healthy!), soda, yogurt, cereals, and meals that come from boxes. There can even be sugars in items like bread, ketchup, and soups.

Some people believe that sugar means energy,  but this form of energy will spike quickly, then crash. You’ve likely heard of, or experienced yourself, that after eating a huge plate of carbohydrate-heavy food, a nap is in order. That’s the crash due to a quick spike in blood sugar and insulin, followed by a sharp drop in these levels.

Instead of letting your energy levels fluctuate, and your overall health take a hit, you can make a wiser choice.

Here are some tips to get you started on decreasing your sugar intake;

  1. Step it down. If you drink 5 sodas in a day, subtract one for a few days, then another for another few days, and so on. Do the same with adding sugar to your coffee or tea. You’ll get used to going without that sweet taste quicker than you might think. It’s all about sustainability here; start with small changes so that they don’t feel impossible. That will help you get all the way to the finish line. 
  2. Drink more water. Did you know that dehydration can often present itself as hunger or food cravings? Hydrate throughout the day to prevent this from occurring. Try to spread out your water intake rather than inundating the body with a large volume of water just a couple of times per day.  
  3. Reach for a natural sweetener. Options like 100% maple syrup are far better than reaching for the sugar bowl. You can also try raw honey, which is thought to have further properties that could be beneficial to your health. These substitutes may just end up being your favorite new go-to sweetener. 
  4. Eat some berries. Despite their sweet taste, berries are low in sugar. They’re great for a snack or to add to unsweetened yogurt for a morning meal. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all fantastic choices. 
  5. Read your labels. There are many names for sugar. You might be eating quite a bit of it without realizing it. Next time you go grocery shopping, plan for some extra time to read the labels of the items you’re interested in. 

   

Stretch Your Way to a Better Workday

Most people have jobs today that involve sitting and being on a computer. Are you one of them? If so, you’ve likely experienced problems related to this type of work. It’s easy to recognize if your chair is comfortable, but there are many aspects of ergonomics that may not have occurred to you, or that you can’t change due to your work circumstances.

When we’re staring at a monitor, our bodies are in a fixed position. If your head moves forward even just an inch or two to read what’s on the screen, it can cause serious neck pain and headaches. Your shoulders are often rotated forward, too. These positions add up to plenty of discomfort. But what can be done?

To tame the tension, consider stretching.

Research shows that regular stretching will actually reduce pain in the shoulders and neck. Studies indicate that daily stretching will allow you to

  • Boost your stamina
  • Manage your pain
  • Improve your sleep
  • Increase your blood flow
  • And more.

Making time for quick stretching breaks can even increase your productivity – a benefit at work as well as at home.

Stretching can be adapted to any fitness level. It’s not just for people who attend regular yoga classes or can bend themselves into pretzel-like positions. You can stretch in as little as 2-3 minutes, or repeat them and take your time for a longer stretching session.

While many people enjoy stretching in the morning, it can also be a great relaxation tool to use before going to bed. Stretch as a part of your nighttime routine, and these gentle movements will encourage your body to release relaxation hormones. It’ll help create the best possible conditions for quality sleep!

Here are four simple stretches you can start doing now, whether at home or in the workplace:

  1. The toe toucher: Stretch your legs straight out while seated. Reach out with your arms, trying to touch your toes, or get as close as possible without experiencing discomfort. 
  2. The ballerina: Lift one of your arms up straight, then bend to the opposite side of your body. Keep your back upright the whole time without hunching your shoulders. 
  3. The backwards clasp: Hold both arms behind you and clasp your fingers together. Pushing your chest outward and upward. 
  4. The shoulder raise: Raise both of your shoulders at once, holding for a few seconds, then lower the shoulders again.

If you find that any are painful, refrain from doing them, or try to stretch without overexerting yourself. As usual, if you have any concerns, be sure to talk to us about it.

Stretching is one area that we may be able to help you with, too. As practitioners with extensive knowledge in the human body, we can assist you with mobility concerns. We will give you stretches that are appropriate for your level of health and abilities.

Here’s some tips for dealing with arthritis and headaches

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Coping With the Pain of Arthritis

When you walk down your street, you likely don’t spend much time thinking about statistics. By the time you reach the end of your block, however, you’ve probably walked by someone who is suffering from a serious health condition to which there is no cure: arthritis.

According to the Arthritis Society, 1 out of every 5 people live with arthritis every day. That means It’s more common than most people realize, and it certainly doesn’t only affect the older population.

Arthritis is a term used to describe well over 100 different conditions. It affects joints and all surrounding tissues. Typically, arthritis is characterized by pain, stiffness, redness, or swelling. If left unchecked, it can spread to surrounding areas, too. Arthritis is marked by inflammation, which is irritation in a certain part of the body. Over time, inflammation can result in a loss of function or even disability.

The Devastating Effects of Arthritis

The term “arthro” means joint, and “itis” refers to inflammation. There is no specific part of the body that arthritis affects; rather, it can happen anywhere. Most often, however, it affects the 

  • Fingers
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Spine
  • Other weight-bearing joints

The symptoms people with arthritis experience may be more mild but are often severe. Arthritis is chronic, which means it continues over months, years, or even a person’s entire lifetime. 

Along with the pain that most people associate with arthritis, sufferers also commonly have fatigue, restricted mobility, and mood-related effects from their condition. Because of these difficulties, people with arthritis may have trouble getting restful sleep and completing daily activities. Many are unable to work, living an existence that’s simply too full of pain. Naturally, those with arthritis are more likely to experience poor levels of mental health or mood disorders. 

The Two Main Types of Arthritis

To simplify this collection of conditions, arthritis is typically grouped in one of two categories: 

  1. Osteoarthritis. The most common type, osteoarthritis affects more people than the other forms combined. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) defines this condition as the result of the body’s failed attempt to repair damaged joint tissues. 

Though osteoarthritis may occur from age-related deterioration, it can also result in response to injury. The cartilage slowly breaks down, leaving bone-on-bone contact. 

  1. Inflammatory arthritis. In this form of arthritis, the symptoms are a result of joint damage instead of cartilage that’s been worn away. Most commonly, there is an autoimmune component, where the body’s defense system mistakenly begins attacking the body’s healthy tissues. Without the proper treatment given quickly, inflammatory arthritis can progress aggressively. 

Can Chiropractic Help? 

Since there are so many types of arthritis, it’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis. That’s where we can help. We will perform testing on your spine, joints, muscles, and other tissues, as well as your nervous system, to give you an accurate evaluation of your condition. From this starting point, we will be able to make the best recommendations on how to get the help you’re seeking. 

 

Making Sense of the Many Types of Headaches

Most people experience a difficult bout of headaches at some point during their life. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably struggled with at least the occasional headache. But did you know that there are several different types of them, each with their own causes and unique symptoms? 

The most common include cervicogenic, tension, sinus, and migraines. Read on to learn more about the various types of headaches.

The Basics of Cervicogenic Headaches

Does your head pain seem to originate from your neck? If so, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing a cervicogenic headache. When you move your neck, you’ll likely feel quite a bit of tension there. These forms of headaches can happen when your head and neck remain fixed in a single position for some time, such as when you’re sitting for a while and working at your desk, staring at a computer.

The main symptoms involved in a cervicogenic headache include

  • Pain on one side of your head
  • Facial or eye pain
  • A steady form of discomfort
  • Worsening pain when you take a deep breath, sneeze or cough
  • Pain that lasts for hours or days
  • A stiff neck

Tension Headaches

Have you ever felt a headache that made it seem like there was a tight band wrapped around your head? That’s the most common symptom of a tension headache. The pain may be mild to moderate.

The signs that you’re experiencing a tension headache include

  • A head pain that feels dull and achy
  • A sensation of pressure or tightness around your head
  • Sensitivity in your shoulders, neck and scalp 

A Pain in the Sinuses

You know the feeling when you’re sick and congested: there’s a pounding pain around your eyes, on your forehead and in your cheeks. In fact, your entire head is throbbing! You don’t necessarily have to be sick with a cold, however, to experience a sinus headache. 

The symptoms of a sinus headache include

  • A sensation of pressure or fullness in the brow, cheeks or forehead
  • Pain that worsens when you bend down or lie down
  • A stuffy nose
  • An aching feeling in your upper teeth
  • Fatigue

Myriads of Migraine Types

Though other headaches are no cakewalk, migraines can be thought of as some of the worst. That’s because they’re commonly accompanied by extreme sensitivity to sound and light, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. If you get a migraine, the pain may last for up to several days, and you are likely unable to complete your daily activities. 

Migraines can come with some warning signs. For example, you may see an aura, or a visual disturbance. The aura might be a blind spot or flashes of light. Many report feeling a tingling sensation in their arm, leg or one side of their face before a migraine comes on.

Chiropractic is a highly effective way to help with many types of headaches. Chiropractors are well-known for their ability to care for headache sufferers, whether they originate from your head, neck or the rest of your spine. Along with spinal adjustments, we can provide assistance with your posture and ergonomics, making sure that you are set up in the best possible way to avoid any type of headache. 

On Pins and Needles

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On Pins and Needles

Have you ever sat in an uncomfortable position, then shifted and had an uncomfortable tingling sensation in one of your limbs? Everyone has, but you may not have thought about why that sensation occurs.

If you change position and the pressure is removed, there’s no harm, no foul. But when a change of position doesn’t do anything, it means you might want to speak with a professional. Persistent pins and needles are a sign of a deeper problem in the body.

The feeling of pins and needles is referred to as paresthesia. Though typically harmless, there are some forms that indicate a serious issue. The features of paresthesia include:

  • Prickling or tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Itching

Most commonly, paresthesia is felt in the hands, arms, legs or feet.

When It Becomes More Serious

When you remove the pressure that causes numbness or tingling, it likely goes away – like if you have your feet tucked under you as you’re sitting, you’ll notice when you get up that you’ve released that nerve pressure.

But if your case is more chronic, there can be different sources, including injury. Whether you’ve had a recent trauma or overuse a certain part of your body, both are a common cause of pins and needles.

If your tingling sensation has lasted for more than just an episode, it’s time to get help. The earlier you get your problem under control, the more likely you are to avoid future health concerns. If you are worried about paresthesia, a Chiropractor’s office is a great place to begin – we are practitioners who work on the nervous system, which as you’ll learn next, is central to the idea of pins and needles.

Why It Happens

The cells in your body make up all your nerves. The nerves receive oxygen and other nutrients thanks to your blood vessels. The body’s nerves interact with the blood vessels to make sure the right amount of blood reaches each organ. So, when nerves or blood vessels are compressed, the nerves can’t transmit information back to the central nervous system as they should. The brain interprets these signals as pins and needles, which is what causes a sensation of tingling or numbness in the body. 

The Other Causes of Paresthesia

There is no one single cause of a sensation of pins and needles. The most common, other than injury, are

  • Diabetes (Type I and Type II)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Low levels of certain vitamins

If you are a diabetic, you’ve probably heard of peripheral neuropathy. People with diabetes may develop tingling and numbness in their feet that will eventually go up their legs. Still others experience this sensation in their hands and arms. Diabetic neuropathy occurs to about 2/3 of people who have diabetes, all ranging from mild to severe and due to nerve damage. In some people, this is the first sign that they have diabetes. 

If you’re experiencing pins and needles that can’t be resolved by a shift of your position, be sure to talk to us to rule out anything more serious. 

 

Your Guide to Shoulder Pain

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend much time considering the incredible complexity of the human body. But it’s important to think about when it comes to pain and injury. The shoulder joint, in particular, is prone to having complex injuries. That’s because the joint is one of our most mobile – which also means there isn’t much stability present. 

That’s why instability or pain in the shoulder is extremely common. You might only feel discomfort when you move your shoulder around, or the pain may be ever-present. To understand how that occurs, it’s important to go through the anatomy of the shoulder.

Your shoulder contains three different bones: the collarbone, the shoulder blade, and the upper arm bone. The upper arm bone goes right into a rounded socked of the shoulder blade. The arm bone is kept in place by a collection of muscles and tendons, which attach the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. 

Common Shoulder-Related Problems

You can experience a broad range of different shoulder injuries, such as:

  • Frozen shoulder. Pain and stiffness in the shoulder are caused by inflammation, which will eventually limit movement. 
  • Osteoarthritis. With aging, the wear-and-tear process can affect the shoulder. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This form of arthritis attacks the joints, which will result in pain and inflammation. 
  • Rotator cuff tears. The muscles or tendons surrounding the top of the humerus can tear, likely as a result of steady overuse or a sudden injury. 
  • Shoulder impingement. The edge of your shoulder blade, when lifted, presses on the rotator cuff. 
  • Dislocation. A bone in the shoulder can slip right out of position. If your shoulder is dislocated, raising your arm will cause you pain. 
  • Tendonitis. The shoulder’s rotator cuff contain tendons. When inflamed, it is referred to as tendonitis.
  • Bursitis. There’s a small sac of fluid that rests over the tendons of the rotator cuff. The signs of bursitis are pain when you lift your arms overhead and pressure on the upper, outer arm. 
  • Labral tear. Overuse or an accident can tear a cuff of cartilage called the labrum. Often, it will heal on its own. 

Do You Need Help?

Some shoulder-related injuries may clear up on their own. To decide if you require help from a professional, ask yourself: can you move your arm as you normally would? Does it feel as if your shoulder may pop right out of the socket? If so, it may require the attention of a professional. 

Chiropractors are well-suited to addressing shoulder injuries. Why? Because their education includes learning about every joint in the body, not just the spine. 

We begin by giving you a thorough evaluation. That’s the first step to determining a diagnosis, which will direct your care. If we feel that your case is a not a Chiropractic one, we will refer you to another professional. If you are a good candidate, however, care will begin tailored to your particular needs, addressing your shoulder pain and aimed at getting you back to living your normal life.

 

What is Tech Neck and Other Questions

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Your Neck Pain Could be Something called ‘Tech Neck’

Yes, this is actually a condition that has become increasingly more common after extended periods of time on the computer, cell phone, and tablets.

So, what exactly is tech neck?

Tech neck is when the muscles in your neck work too hard when you are looking down at a device and when you are slouched over a keyboard and staring into a computer screen. This particular term is related to the pain that is experienced when the neck muscles become overworked and sore from this constant bending motion.

Have you ever spent an extended period of time working on the computer or from your phone and you’ve had the sudden urge to stand up tall, push your shoulders back and massage your own neck? The tightness, soreness and dull ache have begun to set in. This need to align your neck and upper back is due to the strain your body is experiencing.

The good news is, Chiropractic can help you to alleviate the discomfort caused by tech neck.

How Can Chiropractic Help?

Chiropractors specializes in the structure of your spine and neck, which means they are skilled in handling all of your musculoskeletal concerns. Once we have completed an assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be initiated that will include some stretches, light exercise and non-invasive adjustments. The goal is to work your spine and neck back into alignment to alleviate the stress and pain. The adjustments should increase your range of motion, and all of that stiffness will allow for more comfortable periods of work and school.

Here are a few ways you can prevent tech neck: 

  • Invest in a new ergonomically-correct office chair and desk. While phones are the ultimate culprit for tech neck, sitting at a desk where your screen is too low or in an ergonomically-incorrect position can have a similar effect.
  • Get a chair with a headrest. Chairs with headrests will help you maintain proper posture and prevent tech neck. This will help hold the back of your head up and in proper position during the day.
  • Raise and position your phone screen higher. This will prevent you from bending your neck and sloping your head forward.
  • Get Up and Move. If you work at a desk job where you need to sit and stare at a screen all day—one of the best things you can do is to get up and start walking around. This will help get your blood circulating and help give your neck a break. 
  • Exercise. Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to help strengthen and loosen up those muscles in the neck and upper back. The more active you can be, the better.

Prevention is The Key

Just like most other ailments that you will experience in relation to your musculoskeletal system in your lifetime, using preventative measures will always be a better option. Some treatments can take weeks or months of consistent effort to find relief, but preventing them in the first place should be the priority. 

Lastly, If you have recently begun to work from home more, if you have returned to school, or are spending increasingly more time on your electronic devices – it’s a good idea to consult with us for some advice on prevention.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic

There are plenty of people who have heard of Chiropractic but aren’t sure exactly what a chiropractor does. Still others might know some common myths about Chiropractic, but don’t have a first-hand experience.

It’s time to break down some of those questions and set the record straight. Here, you’ll find a gathering of the questions that Chiropractors get most often from prospective patients.

Is a Chiropractor only for when you’re in pain?

Chiropractors are indeed trained to address a wide range of pain-related symptoms. The most common include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches

We are also a great professional to consult if you’ve had a slip and fall or an accident. You are welcome to visit us whether you’re experiencing discomfort or already feeling pretty good, but want to know if there is more we can do for you.

Does a chiropractor really crack your bones?

Plenty of people get a little concerned about hearing an audible noise when they get adjusted. It’s not your bones cracking, so have no fear!

Some techniques cause a joint to move enough that you will hear a ‘pop.’ This noise is actually gas moving through a joint when a force is applied. The level of force will vary depending on your adjustment and the area of the body being adjusted. Other adjusting techniques will also cause a joint to move without producing a ‘pop’ – it all depends on the Chiropractic technique used.

How are you going to adjust me?

There are dozens and dozens of various Chiropractic techniques. Any of these techniques will be applied based on your particular situation. Your age, pain level and diagnosis will all be taken into consideration when we adjust you.

And your personal preferences certainly matter, too – if you want to be adjusted in a certain way, bring this up so we can discuss it further with you.

Will it hurt to get adjusted? 

Putting you through more pain is the last thing we want to do! While people seek out Chiropractic because they’re currently experiencing discomfort, and the goal is never to worsen that pain.

Know that if a particular area of your body is inflamed, there may be a slight sensation of discomfort when that area is adjusted. We will let you know what we’ll do beforehand and advise you on after-care in case of soreness, such as applying ice to the area. 

Hope you enjoyed these FAQ’s. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

 

How to sleep like a baby, and is fruit always good?

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Is It Possible to Eat too Much Fruit?

What do you think of as your go-to foods in the morning? Do you grab a banana on your way out the door to work? Sit down for a longer, more nutrient-rich meal? Fruit is certainly a simple choice for many people, whether it’s the main food they eat in the morning, or just one component of their breakfast.

And for good reason.

Each fruit has its own unique nutritional profile, bringing something different to the table. Typically, fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The sweetness that fruit contains comes from naturally occurring sugars – but are these different from the sugars that are eaten in foods like candies and chocolate?

Some say no…while others say yes.

The Benefits of Eating Fruit

Studies show that plenty of people around the country and even the world aren’t getting the recommended servings of fruit. Fruits are free of cholesterol, low in sodium and fat, and tend to be lower in calories, too. They contain fiber and water, which will help with digestion and satiety.

The drawback of fruit intake lies in those naturally occurring sugars. If you’re a person that is concerned with consuming too much sugar, you may want to watch your fruit consumption. The sugars present in fruit will cause your blood glucose to increase. Most fruits, however, have a low or medium glycemic index, which means that your blood glucose levels won’t spike as they would for certain other foods.

Some also notice that there are negative effects of eating too much fruit, such as heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, and diarrhea.

If you have any underlying condition that affects your metabolism or digestion, you will want to be aware of how much fruit you’re eating. Those who are uncertain as to whether they’re eating too much (or not enough) fruit would be well-advised to speak with us, their medical doctor, or naturopath.

Tips for Better Nutrient Density 

So, what’s the bottom line? It’s a good idea to be aware of your fruit intake so that you don’t overdo it – everything in moderation. Keep in mind that certain fruits are lower in sugars if you are concerned about your sugar intake. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all lower in sugar than other fruits, so they’re a good one to reach for when you want a sweet treat or a boost to your smoothie.

And having a smoothie is always a better choice than a fruit juice. When you drink a fruit juice, you don’t get the benefit of the fiber and solids along with the naturally occurring sugars in the fruit. That makes them less nutritious as well as less filling, so you may find yourself drinking far more than you need to!

When shopping for your fruits, it’s a good idea to look for seasonal produce. That ensures what you’re buying is fresh and hasn’t been sitting on the store shelves for too long. Additionally, keep in mind that frozen is always a great choice, especially for berries – using frozen fruit is ideal for smoothies, which will help keep them cool without watering them down! 

 

The Top 5 Tips For Better Sleep

Fatigue is becoming something of an epidemic in today’s modern world. With all the hustle, bustle, and stress involved in everyday life, it’s no wonder: people are exhausted, now more than ever.

And the worst part is, they’re finding it tougher and tougher to recover from that feeling of exhaustion! Far too many are struggling with their sleep. Are you one of them?

Why Does Sleep Matter So Much?

You know how great it feels to wake up refreshed in the morning. Did you also know it’s vital to your brain? For example, during the hours you’re sleeping, your brain sorts, stores, consolidates, and learns from the experiences you’ve had throughout your day. So, if you want to be able to retain information and learn well, you must get adequate sleep.

Plus, have you ever noticed how you’re quick to lose your temper when you’re tired? That’s because when you’re well-rested, you can better manage your emotions and stress levels.

Sleep even plays a role in the immune system, as well as the functions of your heart, lungs, metabolism and more. It’s the time when your body can get rid of waste products, so it’s important to your natural detoxification processes.

What You Can Do to Boost Your Sleep

It’s been established that good sleep is essential. If you’re tossing and turning at night, wake up and are unable to return to sleep, or find yourself pulling all-nighters, then you want to know what you can do about it.

Here are 5 tips for better sleep: 

  1. Create a routine. Some people find it tough to stick to a schedule, but it’s a key to getting good sleep. Our brains and bodies love routines! Even on the weekends, try to resist the urge to stay up late and sleep in, because it will throw off the rest of your week. The same goes for napping – though tempting, know it will affect your ability to sleep that night and subsequent nights! 
  2. Change your evening habits. Refrain from heavy eating, caffeine and alcohol as your bedtime nears. Though exercise is recommended to get good sleep, don’t do it too close to your bedtime. All these factors can affect your body’s ability to be in a state of rest. 
  3. Sleep in the dark. Most people have a nightlight of some sort in their room or leave a light on in the bathroom that gives some ambient light in their bedroom. Though this seems practical in case you have to get up, it can actually signal to your body and brain that it is waking hours. 
  4. Set up relaxing habits. As your bedtime nears, think about what you can do to set yourself up for sleep success. Reading, meditating, and taking a warm bubble bath are all popular options. 
  5. Put down the devices. Leave your phone plugged in away from your bedroom to charge overnight. Don’t watch TV in your bedroom. Put your laptop or tablet away. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you don’t use these devices 30 minutes before you try to sleep, as it will help you fall asleep quickly. 

Try some tips and see if they can help you feel more rested.