Sleep and Osteopathy


Risk of poor sleep quality

Every now and then we all experience a bad night’s sleep, yet if this disruption becomes a more frequent occurrence then it may affect our physical and mental wellbeing. Consistent poor sleep can increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Adults who have fewer than 6 hours of sleep have a 13% increase in mortality rate; adults who sleep for less than 7 hours a night having an 30% likelihood of obesity. (Kristen L. Knutsona and Eve Van Cauterb)

Causes and Osetopathic approach
Sleep disturbances like insomnia are related to the central nervous system (CNS); physical pain, trauma, stress, anxiety and circulatory issues can be the source of your insomnia. Increased pain levels can create irritability and heightened pain signals to the CNS, therefore the higher the pain the more difficult it is to correctly read signals to sleep.

The CNS is composed of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, which both manage unconscious bodily functions such as heartbeat, respiration, and circulation. The spine has peripheral nerves that directly connect to the CNS. This is why your osteopath may perform craniosacral examination and treatment that may indirectly help with relaxing your CNS. The craniosacral region includes the bones of the face, skull, mouth, larynx and extends to the lower part of the spinal cord by a system of hydraulics and membranes, all the way to the sacrum.

Another Osteopathic approach to sleep disturbances is helping the functionality of the 10th cranial nerve called the vagus nerve. It is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending to organs in the chest and abdomen and has links to sleep and alertness. This dynamic nerve serves many organs and structures, including the larynx (voice box), lungs, heart and gastrointestinal tract (G.I). Any G.I distress, poor posture and muscle imbalances can affect the nerve. Your osteopath may therefore choose to treat viscerally or cranially.

We hope you found this helpful and please check out easy to follow tips to improve sleep quality article on good sleeping habits so that we can all get a good nights kip.

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