Improve your sleep and prepare for Daylight Saving Time

Dr. Chris Murphy shares how you can create bedtime routines for the whole family.
Better Night's Sleep

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Sleep is essential and critical to keeping our bodies healthy and our minds recharged. Without the proper amount of sleep, our health will continue to diminish, eventually leading to our bodies crashing. The CDC reports one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. 

“If we are that person who is getting three or four hours of sleep, eventually our adrenals and our body system are going to crash. And when they crash, they crash hard.” -Dr. Chris Murphy

Dr. Chris Murphy, the owner, clinical director and chiropractor at the NewEdge Family Chiropractic, said it’s never too late to develop healthy sleeping habits and routines. Dr. Murphy said, one of the most significant impacts on our sleep is our posture as our “feel good” and energy-producing hormones are directly related to how we carry ourselves.  

Many people spend hours working on a computer. Usually, we are in a “weird sitting down posture that’s stressing our body out, draining our energy levels, and putting our bodies in a sympathetic state,” said Dr. Murphy. The problem with being in a sympathetic state is that the body produces the fight or flight responses; Dr. Murphy said, “that puts us in a constant state of stress. This state makes it really tough for people to calm down at night and hard for people not just to get sleep but restful sleep.”

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One way he said you could see some progress on your posture and mood is to use blue-light-filtering glasses when staring at a screen. Dr. Murphy said it’s also essential to adjust your posture throughout the day to ensure you are not hunched over in a weird, uncomfortable position. 

“Research shows that up to 70% of Americans don’t get adequate sleep and don’t have the energy to back that up.” –Dr. Chris Murphy

How can I set nightly bedtime routines for my children?

Dr. Murphy said that setting nightly routines for children is essential to making sure they can calm down their nervous system to get a nice restful sleep. One way you can do this is by establishing a certain time after dinner where children are not in front of the screen, or they have bathtime or storytime or a calming bedtime routine. Establishing a consistent routine will benefit the whole family and help your children develop healthy sleep habits. 

How much sleep should I get?

For parents and adults, Dr. Murphy suggests getting a solid seven to eight hours of sleep and creating a consistent nightly routine. He said the key to a nightly routine is starting the calming down process one to two hours before you want to be asleep. 

“For adults, the routine could be shutting off any screens before bedtime. Or it’s preparing yourself, washing your face, brushing your teeth, doing some reading, or meditation to help calm down that nervous system. But start creating these routines, whether it’s for our children or ourselves. These routines go a long way in creating a lifetime of long, restful sleep and more energy,” said Dr. Murphy. 

“If you’re not dreaming, you are probably not getting that quality sleep you should so that’s something you may want to keep in mind,” said Dr. Murphy. Science shows the best sleep is when you reach the deep REM (rapid eye movement) cycles where you have heavy dreams. 


4 Stages Of Sleep

What time should I start getting ready for bed?

“It’s really different for everybody, but ideally, it’s that one to two-hour time frame before you want to be asleep is when you want to start those routines. So for someone who is really struggling with sleep, you’re probably going to want to start that routine earlier, close to that two-hour time frame,” said Dr. Chris Murphy.

What do I do if I have a busy mind?

“Many people get in their minds too much, and they think I have to be in bed at this time and be asleep. Then they start to stress themselves out. Just know at the end of the day, your sleep will come, and let your body be its guide. So it’s going to be a little different for everyone, but if you are that more stressed-out person, give yourself a little extra time to get to bed, said Dr. Murphy.

WATCH: How can I prepare my Body for Daylight Saving Time on November 7, 2021?

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