Hey everybody, this is Mike Uhrlaub coming at you again with another episode of Power Your Life. I have got to tell you; It is great to be back with you guys again. Today I want to talk about something I love, not as much as food, but very close, and that is sleep. Sleep can play a direct part in your back pain. Believe it or not sleeping more often, and getting better quality sleep, can really make a huge difference. But before I get to far into that I want to share a story.
I took a few weeks off from the live sessions around the holidays to spend time with my family. I decided to take my family sledding at Mount Crescent last Saturday afternoon. We had never done this before and it sounded like fun. Unfortunately, we got to Mount Crescent just a little late and they were not selling any more lift tickets. We got back in the car and my kids were a little bit upset. They really had their hearts set on sledding down the mountain.
We were trying to recover from the disappoint and my wife said, “let’s go bowling instead”. While driving from Mount Crescent to Council Bluffs my wife decided to call the bowling alley. What she found out was that the bowling alley required you to purchase their large group packages regardless the size of your group. These packages were actually quite expensive and more than we wanted to spend. Needless to say, that idea didn’t work out.
In an attempt to save the day, we thought maybe we could just get a couple of sleds and go sledding somewhere else. There are a few hills near our house.
We checked at Walmart, Menards, Sam’s Club, and Target! Even Bomgaars was sold out of sleds! About this time we were driving by Culver’s. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a Culver’s frozen custard, but it is absolutely amazing. So, we decided to stop and get some frozen custard. As we were sitting in the car, I was watching and listening to my wife and my kids. They were talking and laughing while eating their frozen custard. Having a great time, even though it wasn’t turning out the way we wanted.
Nothing Was Working
It seemed like nothing that day had worked out for us. But then, I kind of had this epiphany. I realized something… all I really wanted to do was spend the day with my family laughing, bonding, and having fun. That is exactly what we were doing. It may not have been exactly what I had planned, but listening to my kids tell their stories and jokes in the car while we were driving around was perfect.
This got me thinking, when we change our perception of an event, it can completely change our attitudes. You see, changed attitudes can lead to a more enjoyable experience. The choice is ours on how we perceive things. We can choose to focus on what we don’t like about a situation or an experience, which leads to frustration, anger, and irritability, or we can accept what is happening.
If we change our focus, it changes our perception, and that changes our attitude. When you do that, you end up with more joy, love, and peace in your life.
With that being said, let’s talk about how to get a more peaceful sleep and what that means for you and your back.
Many of you may already know that I have suffered from back pain personally. One of the things I noticed with my own back issues was my sleep habits are directly related to how my back feels.
How many of you out there find yourselves trying to “burn the candle at both ends?”
Many of us do this all the time. We are all trying to do way too much. Between work, family commitments, kids, activities, sports, and life in general, we just get busier and busier. When you combine this with the technology we have with our phones, tablets, and computers, it’s like we never get a chance is to shut down.
Has your phone ever acted glitchy? Sometimes this happens to me. My phone gets glitchy and it stops working or the screen freezes. To fix it I have have to turn it off. When I turn it off, it gives it a second to rest and reset. When I turn it back on, it works just fine!
Our phones CAN stay on all the time, but it is good to turn them off from time to time.Just like our phones our bodies need to have that downtime.
Downtime Is So Important
Our bodies need to shut down on a regular basis. Many of us are sacrificing our sleep time because we are so busy. My clients tell me all the time there’s just not enough hours in the day. Honestly, I have been guilty of the same thing. I used to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and not go to bed until 11 at night.
I would brag about how little sleep I could get.
My thoughts were it was okay because I was able to function. But the reality is that is not good for your body. Only getting a few hours of sleep took a toll on everything! It took a toll on my attitude, my ability to concentrate and my ability to process things. But the biggest thing I noticed is the toll it took on my back.
What I found was when I didn’t sleep, my back was way more painful and stiff. Here’s what I’m going to tell you.
We all require seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
If you don’t get this, it will eventually catch up with you.
- Albert Einstein would get 10 hours of sleep. I don’t know about you, but if one of the most intelligent men who has ever lived needed his sleep, maybe he was on to something.
- In the early 19 hundred’s, the average American got about 9 hours of sleep a night.
- Today, the average American gets 6.8 hours.
- One third of all Americans don’t get enough sleep.
- 31% of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep at night.
Not only does this lack of sleep make you cranky, but it really affects all aspects of your life.
Sleep is required to heal your body. Sleep is required to cleanse your brain of neurotoxins produced during the day. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase eating patterns, cravings, and late-night snacking. It increases cortisol levels and decreases insulin sensitivity.
We already know from, previous episodes I’ve done how important your diet and eating right is for controlling your body’s inflammation and your ability to heal.
Your lack of sleep will impact this too.
We will go a little more in depth on that. But just one thing I wanted to highlight…. We just got done saying if you don’t get enough sleep, it increases your late-night snacking and cravings. What happens is, you start waking up, if you’re not sleeping through the night, and start eating stuff that is really bad for you.
How many times do you wake up in the middle of the night, stumble out into the kitchen, and eat a plate of broccoli? How many people actually do that?
I’m going to tell you, that’s probably almost never. If you’re like me, you instead reach for ice cream, cookies, and peanut butter; The sugary processed foods. These things have such a negative impact on your gut, which can then lead to a leaky gut and contribute to the inflammation levels in the body.
I recently did a two-part series called Eating Your Way to a Better Back and also did a four-part series called The Key to Healing is through a Healthy Gut. Those episodes go into a lot more depth about how your diet and the processed sugary foods have an impact on your healing.
If you guys haven’t checked those out already, I highly suggest you go back and do so. There’s a lot of good information in there. The links are included at the end of the post.
Increased eating and cravings are obvious problems for your waistline, right? Now you know lack of sleep also increases your cortisol levels and decreases the insulin sensitivity.
How do these hormones affect your back?
It’s a stress hormone. I could go into specifics on how cortisol affects so many of your body’s symptoms and systems, but that’s going to be for another day.
Here’s what I want you to know today…
Studies have shown high levels of stress end up meaning higher than normal levels of cortisol are correlated to the perception of pain and pain thresholds in humans.
Basically, what that means is the higher level of cortisol in your system, the more pain you will perceive in your body. That’s why stress management, like relaxation, meditation, and sleep, are so critical in reducing pain!
What about insulin?
We just said lack of sleep causes decreased insulin sensitivity. So, how does that affect your back?
When the cells of your body are not sensitive to insulin that’s being produced already it triggers your pancreas to produce even more insulin. This results in higher level of insulin in the body which is a real problem because this can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes and eventually type two diabetes.
Higher levels of insulin also have a direct impact on your inflammation levels. Inflammation levels contribute to your back-pain, along with so many other health issues including weight gain.
You know what lack of sleep does so how do you get more of it?
I’m going to give you my five steps to getting a good night’s sleep.
You’ve got to get a good mattress.
You’re going to spend up to one- third of your life in bed asleep. You’ve got to have a good mattress. Take a look at your current mattress. If it’s older than five years… If you get down, look along the top of it, and you can see the impression of your body… It’s time to get a new one.
You want a mattress that is supportive and keeps your spine in neutral. You don’t want one that is too hard or too soft. Many of the memory foam mattress are really good. Personally, I use the nectar mattress. I found it to be extremely helpful, very supportive, not too soft, and not too hard. I really like it and recommend it to my clients.
Any mattress meeting those requirements will work.
Melatonin…. Start taking
Melatonin supplementation works very closely with your body’s circadian rhythm that help prepare you for sleep.
Start out with about three to five milligrams about 45 minutes before bedtime. It will start to help trigger your body and tell your body it’s time to start shutting down.
Do not take any caffeine after 6:00 PM.
Caffeine is a stimulant. It will prevent your body from wanting to shut down.
No late-night coffees, Monster, or Red Bull after 6:00 PM.
Turn off your electronics.
Turn them off at least one-hour before going to bed. This allows your brain to start shutting down and preparing for sleep. Just like your computer needs to be shut down, your brain needs time to rest as well.
Instead of watching TV in bed read a book or magazine. That will help you shut down. You can even just relax and meditate. That’s very helpful too. Speaking of that…
Guided meditation helps regulate your breathing pattern and this activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the calming side of your nervous system. It helps you to shut down.
Make sure your room is completely dark and quiet when meditating. There’s a lot of really good apps out of there.
Simple habit is one I’ve used and found they’re guided sleep meditations are absolutely amazing. You can use apps like calm. There are so many others out there! I have done a previous episode called Heal Faster With Meditation that goes more in depth on this. The link is provided below.
Use those five steps to create a sleep routine.
What I mean by this is follow these steps each night, but always try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. This helps your body start to learn when it hits that timeframe it’s time to shut down and go to bed. Then it’s time to wake up. You’ll find not only do you think better, are less stressed, and more fun to be around, but your back will feel better and will lose weight quicker.
How awesome is that?
If you’re having back-pain, would like to find out what the root causes, and want to fix things for good should sign up for our new back-pain breakthrough session. All you have to do is click HERE to find out more about this amazing new program we’re offering.
To find out more about the previous episodes referenced, just click on the links below!
Facebook Videos Mentioned
Eating Your Way to a Better Back
Part 1: https://fb.watch/2T7R5OpoCm/
Part 2: https://fb.watch/2T7TvnlyoO/
The Key to Healing is Through a Healthy Gut
Part 1: https://fb.watch/2T7ZD02HAF/
Part 2: https://fb.watch/2T7_T8geim/
Part 3: https://fb.watch/2T82ZRylNc/
Part 4: https://fb.watch/2T7XXv8g8l/
Heal Faster With Meditation
Podcast Episodes Mentioned
Eating Your Way to a Better Back
The Key to Healing is Through a Healthy Gut
Heal Faster With Meditation
As always, I’m going to leave you with a thought-provoking quote from Chuck Swindell, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes towards a life. The longer I live, the more convinced I become that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond to it.” I’m going to let you guys chew on that one for a while.
Until next time, Power Your Life and keep moving forward!