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Are you getting enough sleep?

Published: June 16, 2021

Are you getting enough sleep, I mean proper sleep? The reality is for most adults the answer is no and this is a problem!

Hi, I’m Dr. Andrew Arnold, senior Chiropractor and Director, Back In Motion Cranbourne.

Poor sleep can lead to mental health problems, injuries at work and socially, low productivity, increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke and even death.

Around a third of the population report less than 7 hrs. per night most with wakefulness disorders, and more prevalent in females.

Before I go much further let’s define sleep.

Sveti Williams, sleep coach says sleep “is a highly complex and active process of

dynamic restoration, rejuvenation, recuperation and reconsolidation, all of which are essential for health and wellbeing.”

She goes on to describe the stages of sleep. “It is now understood that we pass through five stages of sleep aswe fall from wakefulness, with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep the final of these stages. These stages progress in cycles, moving

through stage 1 to REM sleep and then back to stage 1. The progress of each cycle lasts around 90 minutes in adults and 30–40 minutes in children. It is well known that people need approximately 8 hours of sleep every night, but to be precise we need around 7.5 hours.”

Chiropractors and other Health-care providers need to address this in their practices, possibly using sleep assessment tools, sleep posture advice, mattress, and pillow recommendations and maybe referrals to sleep specialists.

It follows long term sleep deprivation can lead to sleep-disordered breathing, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, parasomnias, sleep-related psychiatric disorders, sleep-related neurological disorders, sleep-related medical disorders, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

So, let’s look at why adults are struggling with their sleep patterns and some solutions:

  1. It’s no surprize over-using tech devices is a major factor. Not only are they incredibly distracting they also expose your eyes to too much electro-magnetic radiation, the blue light spectrum which can directly negatively impact the back lining of your eyes.

More specifically, blue light increases the risk of retinal damage, and this can be permanent. Blue light also depletes the hormone, melatonin which is necessary for healthy circadian rhythms. These rhythms help your brain recognise night and day.

Try using Blue light filter glasses or screens. Software such as ‘flux’ or built-in filters are also very useful.

  1. Exercising just before bed. This increases blood pressure, heart rate and adrenalin which are all non-conducive to sleep.
  2. Working late. Avoid checking emails or staying up too late to work. This potentially creates open-ended conversations and work which can’t be taken care of until the following day.
  3. Too much TV before bed. TV emits EMR not to mention the content of what you’re watching.
  4. Eating a large mean just before bed. Whilst eating encourages your para-sympathetic nervous system to engage which is also needed for sleep, a full stomach can be physically uncomfortable and digestion to some degree does require gravity.
  5. Erratic going to bedtimes. Try and go to be at the same time every night. This helps create healthy sleeping habits.
  6. Not enough wind down time. We’re all busy and usually don’t take the time to rest and relax before bed. Try meditating, a warm bath, hot drink, calm music etc. at least 1 hour prior to bed.
  7. Avoid stimulants such as coffee or chai after 4pm. Too much coffee tends to cause our adrenals to over-work leading to adrenal exhaustion and over-tiredness.
  8. An old or ill-fitting mattress and/or pillow. As a Chiropractor, many of my patients fall behind with their health goals because of inappropriate mattresses or pillows. It makes sense your neck pain is slow to resolve or resolving at all if every night you are sleeping on a pillow that’s too high or a mattress that’s sagging in the middle! Our friends at Regal Sleep solutions say you “should also be making the most of those hours of sleep and sleeping on a Regal Sleep mattress.”

For more information refer to this table which outlines good sleep guidelines for all ages courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation.



May be appropriate

Not recommended


0-3 months

14 to 17 hours

11 to 13 hours

18 to 19 hours

Less than 11 hours

More than 19 hours


4-11 months

12 to 15 hours

10 to 11 hours

16 to 18 hours

Less than 10 hours

More than 18 hours


1-2 years

11 to 14 hours

9 to 10 hours

15 to 16 hours

Less than 9 hours

More than 16 hours


3-5 years

10 to 13 hours

8 to 9 hours

14 hours

Less than 8 hours

More than 14 hours

School-aged Children

6-13 years

9 to 11 hours

7 to 8 hours

12 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 12 hours


14-17 years

8 to 10 hours

7 hours

11 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 11 hours

Young Adults

18-25 years

7 to 9 hours

6 hours

10 to 11 hours

Less than 6 hours

More than 11 hours


26-64 years

7 to 9 hours

6 hours

10 hours

Less than 6 hours

More than 10 hours

Older Adults

≥ 65 years

7 to 8 hours

5 to 6 hours

9 hours

Less than 5 hours

More than 9 hours

About the Author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is senior Chiropractor and Director, Back In Motion Cranbourne.