Dr. Nathan Kadlecek, PT
Is a physical therapist committed to providing high quality health information, largely focused on lower back pain and the gross overuse of diagnostic imaging, medication, surgery, low quality treatment methods, and the over-diagnosis of pain conditions. He's also a powerlifter, pain nerd, macro-scale thinker, and wants to help you think differently about pain, healthcare, and life.
“I can’t move,” she tells her husband. “I literally can’t move, everything feels completely locked up.”
People develop chronic back pain, slowly, from seemingly innocuous occurrences at a pace that few pay attention to. Then, ten years later, we have an epidemic.
Sam was working as a checker at a grocery store about 20 years ago. It was towards the end of her shift, she was tired, ready to go home, and only had a few more customers before she could clock out. “Only a few more minutes…” she said.
As she was bagging the last customers items, she rotated to the left and screamed. As she states it “her back went out,” and it was like a pain she had never experienced before; a sharp, shooting, grabbing pain.
The muscle had grabbed on so tightly on her left lower back that she was unable to continue standing and had to have one of the customers and some of her co-workers help her to a chair and eventually, help her to her car.
She felt embarrassed that she was in this much pain and that people had seen her like this, and, she was worried about what she was going to do about this as she needed to work and had young kids at home that she needed to care for.
As Sam is driving home, very slowly, she starts to think about all of the things that it could possibly be, “is it a muscle strain, did I herniate a disc, could it be spinal stenosis, did my scoliosis finally catch up with me?” She gets home, pops some tylenol, goes through her nightly routine with the kids and hopes and prays that it’s better the next morning.
“I can’t move,” she tells her husband. “I literally can’t move, everything feels completely locked up.” After a few minutes of deep breathing, Sam works up the courage to roll over and sit-up on the bed. “Ouch,” she winces. Constant pain. As she gets out of bed and takes her first steps, she walks to the bathroom, takes some more tylenol, and hopes that it helps. It doesn’t.
She goes into work, and her manager immediately lets her know that she needs to go home as she can’t be at work because this injury happened while she was on the job and due to worker’s comp law, she is required to not be working. “What do you mean I can’t work?” she said, “well, the way the policy is setup, you need to go through the worker’s comp process. Don’t worry, we’ve got a great doctor you can see,” the manager says.
After a few more days of very mild relief, Sam heads on into the doctor’s office. It’s 9:35 am, her appointment was at 9 am. Finally, they call her back and she sits in the exam room for another 15 minutes. Tick, tock. It’s now 9:50 am, and finally, the doctor is ready to see her. Dr. M is tall, with slightly greying hair, probably mid 50’s, she thinks. She notices the circles under his eyes, and the rather frantic and preoccupied nature of the introduction as he was running behind from a few other patients earlier in the morning. Once you get behind… you don’t catch up.
Dr. M does the best he can with the short amount of time they have together, asks Sam exactly what happened, tests, to see if she can feel her toes, and concludes that she likely has a muscle strain or a herniated disc that’s pressing on a nerve and just to be sure that they should get an x-ray and maybe an MRI. In the meantime he’ll prescribe some muscle relaxers and tylenol.
Sam feels a bit more nervous at this point as a herniated disc sounds like a big deal. She knows a few friends who’ve had a herniated disc and they ended up having surgery. She’s also frustrated that she wasn’t really able to get her questions answered due to the length of the appointment only being about 11 minutes. Much of it was just taking down her past medical history and she didn’t really get to tell her story, particularly of how much of her family has back pain and that her mom had a spinal fusion that went horribly wrong.
Feeling anxious at this point, she goes and gets the MRI done, which is fairly common in the US when someone experiences back pain, and the results are quite scary, or so she thinks.
She gets the results and the radiologist quickly goes over them, “no wonder you’re hurting so much.” “Oh, it’s bad?” Sam, says. “Well, you see here, that disc is pressing on the nerve and ‘pinching’ it, which is causing your pain, I recommend an injection, but you can try physical therapy, too,” says the radiologist.
She decides that she’ll go get the injection because it’s supposed to help with the pain and then go to physical therapy after. She meets with the pain management doc, gets the injection, and… gets no relief.
At this point, she’s really frustrated, still in a ton of pain, is barely even able to walk around, and it’s been 2 months of agony. She finally sets up her evaluation with a physical therapist.
Let’s stop the story here.
This is an EPIC FAIL! How could our healthcare system have failed so monumentally?
Above is a fairly common scenario, one that I hear quite often, and one that frustrates me to no-end. A perfectly healthy person experiences some pain and is subsequently gobbled up and spit out by the system; often becoming worse than they would have if they’d seen no-one.
Here is a recap of the series of events that happened...
Here is how it should have gone…
Here’s my educated opinion on the topic…
If the system followed the approach below, we’d have less chronic low back pain and less chronic pain in general, less surgeries, a drastically healthier population, and healthcare that we could probably afford.
“Early MRI without indication has a strong iatrogenic effect in acute low back pain, regardless of radiculopathy status. Providers and patients should be made aware that when early MRI is not indicated, it provides no benefits, and worse outcomes are likely.” - [Webster et al. 2013]
Regular everyday people are being made worse by the shitty care they are receiving and the misinformation that is fed to them. Diagnostic imaging is given out like candy, people are told they need surgery when they don't, and thinking that your body is broken is often a self fulfilling prophecy.
If you’re a healthcare provider reading this. I challenge you to educate yourself on the dangers of telling people false and harmful information. Look-up nocebos in medicine and the iatrogenic potential of physicians words. It will blow your mind.
If you’re the person that went through the first series of events above, i’m sorry. It really is awful that you became another victim of the system. BUT, there is still hope, and you don’t need to continue to suffer endlessly. There are solutions that don’t include more medication and more surgery that typically include exercise, understanding pain, and various other methods to reduce the suffering that is so prevalent with chronic pain.
You can find some great information about pain and how to think about it from:
Peter O’ Sullivan (twitter)
Jarod Hall (blog) - Dr. Jarod Hall (@drjarodhalldpt) (instagram)
Ben Cormack (blog) - Instagram
Sarah Haag (twitter)
Bronnie Lennox Thompson (blog)
Greg Lehman (blog) - Twitter
If you’re a part of the general public, please, educate yourself on nocebo’s, how our thoughts and beliefs can influence how we respond to pain, and most of all, if you need it, how to find a provider who is up to date on the pain literature. It could quite literally save your life.
Have you or a family member received this terrible type of care by the system? Did you realize it at the time? Comment below, i'd love to hear your experiences.
America needs help. It's suffering from a chronic pain epidemic.
Don’t confuse ‘how you feel’ with ‘why it works.’ Effectiveness does not explain the why.
POP. Sweet relief.
I love getting my back cracked. It feels amazing and causes me to just want to lay there for a few moments and soak it in.
When I was applying to physical therapy programs, my idea of helping and healing people from musculoskeletal issues was that I would be able to diagnose and then treat people based on their specific dysfunction. This could have been a slight positional change in the spine where one segment was rotated more than another, or a pelvis that was rotated too far forward (anterior tilt) or even one of the innominate (hip) bones being rotated more than the other on the sacrum.
I thought I was going to be going to school to fix people and that I, and only I, with my hands could determine what the true dysfunction was.
I was wrong. I had an existential crisis.
**Disclaimer: I am not a manual therapy hater and I use it from time to time.**
Why is this important??
I CAN FIX YOU WITH MY HANDS!
Upon taking my first class in my physical therapy program at Columbia University, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to learn exactly how to fix people. This started with in-depth anatomy classes with a lab section for cadaver dissection, physiology to further solidify our undergrad knowledge of each of the bodies internal processes, and various classes specific to neurological conditions, orthopedic conditions (muscle, bone, tendon, ligaments, etc.), pediatrics, geriatrics.
Each of these classes were interesting, however none piqued my curiosity more than the orthopedics courses. These were the courses that would talk about exercise, manual or manipulative therapy, soft tissue mobilization (i.e. massage), and various modalities. In these courses, particularly the spine course, I was fully engaged and soaking all of the information up like a wet sponge.
But, there was a problem. When it came time to start practicing and learning about spinal palpation (feeling spinal segments) and we were asked to perform special tests to determine the difference in rotation of various segments, or the height differences of one innominate bone (hip) from the other, I couldn’t do it. I sucked.
I’ve sucked at things before, I mean, really terrible. I was so bad at field goals my freshman year of high school that I didn’t even get the kicker position (I went on to get a scholarship in college as a punter/kicker). I barely passed neuro in PT school. And wrapping presents… yea it looks like a child did it (although there have been improvements ;) )
This spinal palpation and diagnosis thing though, I couldn’t get it. No matter how much I worked at it or practiced it, I couldn’t feel what the highly experienced professors could feel.
I remember one day I asked, “I really can’t feel the difference, and really, won’t everyone feel something differently, anyways? Isn’t this based on our own perception and confidence?” The response from the instructor was “you just need to practice more and eventually your hands will get more sensitive to the motions.” What’s funny is that I ran into this instructor a few years down the road and found that he doesn’t even believe that, go figure. The educational system is weird.
With the help of some highly skeptical friends, who were older and a bit wiser than I, they helped me build up a healthy set of skepticism towards the palpation of “segmental dysfunction,” and the idea that something was either “out of alignment,” or “mispositioned,” and that it needed to be “corrected,” and that this was somehow the cause of pain. In addition to my skeptical bros, our final ortho class was extremely insightful.
For the entirety of the past two years of PT school I had been under the impression that pain was largely caused by biomechanical faults that could be palpated and corrected by manual therapy. At the beginning of my third year, this paradigm was absolutely crushed and I was left wondering why the hell I even went to school and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was left feeling disillusioned and angry that so much of what we had learned was based on old and outdated evidence. It was exhausting and defeating.
Thankfully, as time went on, and we continued to learn and push through the final third year, things started to look up. I found that instead of feeling disillusioned from my bias being challenged and destroyed, that I now had more freedom and that many of the patients suffering with chronic pain that I had worked with in the past (who didn’t respond to manual therapy at all) might have some hope after all, to suffer less, that it wasn’t about me ‘fixing’ them.
LAW OF THE ARTERY AND LAW OF THE NERVE
I love reading and studying about beliefs, behavior, bias, fallacies, and many other areas of behavioral economics. This has spurred me on to read numerous different books on the topic, one of my favorites being Thinking Fast and Slow by Daneil Kahneman. If you haven’t read this book, you need to, as you’ll realize you aren’t nearly as smart or bias free as you think.
Due to this love of learning about biases, beliefs, and become more skeptical, a curiosity arose. Just like I had wanted to fix people with my hands, many people before me also wanted to do the same; not only Physical Therapists, but Osteopaths and Chiropractors, too. I became curious about how each of these professions started and where in the world did the term “out of alignment,” crop up from. I’d learned and read about the origins before but never as in depth as now.
Before osteopaths, chiropractors, or physical therapists, there were “bone setters”. These bone setters were present in Indonesia, China, Japan, Russia, Hawaii, Nepal, Mexico, and other parts of the world. They performed various techniques of manual manipulation including “adjustments,” “high velocity low amplitude thrusts,” “osteopathic manipulations,” or whatever you’d like to call it. They also reduced actual dislocations of the hip, knee, and shoulders, although they had no formal medical training. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565620/#B8
The first Osteopathic Medicine college: 1892, in Kirksville Missouri, Andrew Taylor Still the father of Osteopathic Medicine opened the American Osteopathic College.
Founding belief: Law of the Artery: “He based his theories of disease and dysfunction on the “disturbed artery” in which obstructed blood flow could lead to disease or deformity. This would become known in Osteopathy as the Law of the Artery.”
The first Chiropractic College: 1897, in Davenport, Iowa, Palmer opened, The Palmer College of Cure, now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Founding belief: “...Palmer began to reason that when a vertebra was out of alignment, it caused pressure on nerves. He further reasoned that decreasing nerve impulses would surely affect visceral function leading to disease (the Law of the Nerve).”
The first physical therapy college: 1913, in Otago, New Zealand. The School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago, NZ.
Founding belief: No particular “founding belief,” as this profession developed organically out of close relationships with orthopedic surgeons. PT’s were originally known as “reconstruction aides,” for injured soldiers during and after World War I (WWI). Mary McMillan was the first and most prominent reconstruction aide, as she was taught by the pre-eminent Sir Robert Jones, a physician in England who co-authored the treatise “Orthopedic Surgery.” Use of massage, corrective exercise, and other modalities were originally utilized.
Prior to the 20th century, much of medicine was still following the motto of “observe and use what helps, avoid what does harm,” which sounds good in theory, but doesn’t always work. This can be evidenced by a procedure to treat fevers back in 1796 and into 1800’s, “bleeding,” using a tool called a lancet (scalpel). It was assumed that if you get rid of the symptom, fever, you solve the problem. So… why not just make people bleed enough to where they become cold. Clearly this wasn’t a great approach and in my mind emphasizes why it’s important to also understand the mechanisms as to why things work so we don’t continue to do incredibly stupid and counterproductive things.
We shouldn’t judge professions based on their beliefs 100 years ago, and we also shouldn’t judge individual people just because they are part of a certain profession. I think this is counterproductive and does not take into account individual beliefs of practitioners and the evolution of professions over time. However we should absolutely hold people accountable when the narratives given to people about pain are incorrect as these can cause serious chronic issues down the road.
FALSE BELIEFS DO CAUSE HARM
“Why should I care about how it works or what they’re telling me, I just want to feel better.” Feeling better at the expense of possibly developing chronic pain down the road is not a healthy trade-off. Like I stated before manual therapy and adjustments/manipulations/mobilizations all have a positive effects for many people, however the ‘why’ behind it working is also important.
Here is where I have some qualms. Over the past three years of practicing as a physical therapist, i’ve had multiple people, nearly every day, tell me either, “my back is out,” or “my hip popped out,” or “my PT said my hips were WAY off,” and I need to go get it adjusted to get it put back into place. I’ve had more people than I can count, get an adjustment to “put it back in place,” and then who are deathly afraid of exercise because it might “pop it out.” These conversations are frustrating for a few reasons. Disclaimer: *This applies to PTs, Chiros, and Osteopaths. I’m not singling one one profession, so don’t get all bent out of shape ;).*
Clearly, we have a problem. The # of individuals suffering with chronic pain continues to increase, and seemingly, the amount of people who still believe outdated information from the 1800’s is HUGE. I will state it again, just because something has been around for 100’s or thousands of years, and has some positive effects, does not explain the WHY.
This “why” is important because it’s now understood that this is a huge contributing component of who will suffer from a chronic musculoskeletal pain condition, and who will not.
SO… IF MY BACK AND HIPS DON’T GO OUT, WHAT’S GOING ON?
There is no doubt that often times our back or hip feels a bit or very ‘off.’ If you really dig deep into your first experience of this feeling and who was the first few people to give you advice on it, it’s likely you’ll remember somebody who said “oh, you need to be careful,” or “you should go get adjusted,” or “wow, your hips are WAY out,” or “your L5 vertebra is way out of place by 2mm.”
Often times we feel and experience pain, and immediately we tap into our memory to see if this is something similar. If it’s not something familiar that we’ve experienced before we’ll go search it up and see if we can figure it out. This is typically when someone will get told that “oh, it’s because your back is out of place,” lemme just pop it back in…
Back pain itself, especially the kind where we feel something is off, that nasty muscle spasm and grabbing feeling, or sciatica, are multifactorial. The irritated structure could be a nerve, muscle, tendon, ligament, disc, or something else, but, there may be a better way to think about this. Rather than trying to find an exact diagnosis (when there typically is not one), what if you thought about pain as what it’s NOT vs. what it is.
If you can rule out that the pain is not due to a fracture, kidney stone, infection, cancer, gall stone, and some other rare conditions, then chances are, with a program to stay moving, and working on your self-efficacy and healthy body beliefs, that things are going to be okay.
Perception is reality, however reality can be warped. If your perception is that your back hurts, therefore your back is out, then your reality that you’ve created is (likely) that everytime your back hurts, it’s because your back is out. When really, this is not happening, for reasons cited above. Our perception of situations and events is usually horribly flawed. We are incredibly irrational actors, and the sooner we can accept that and become a little more skeptical and use a few more sources, the sooner we will be able to make a dent in this massive problem that is chronic and persistent pain.
What do YOU think? As always, please leave your wonderful comments below or respond directly to me via email with your love mail or hate mail :). Email me
AND for a much more in depth review of this topic please visit https://www.painscience.com/articles/structuralism.php -- it's really an epic document! VERY detailed and rational.
A few more references:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565620/#B8 - A History of Manipulative Therapy
Ergonomics has become a billion dollar industry. And with any billion dollar industry, come many charlatans.
If you work for a large business, particularly one with greater than 500 employees, it’s likely you’ve had the ergonomic or ‘posture people’ come in to do an assessment of the workplace. They probably charged the company $300/hr, took a bunch of measurements, ordered custom equipment, and made claims that “with this equipment, and based on our algorithms, this will reduce workplace injury by 33%.”
This is all well and good, and workplace injuries/pain are important to address, however are these $300/hr consultants actually worth it? Do they actually provide value? As most things go in life, there are some that are worth their weight in gold and should charge more than that, and there are others that should be working for free due to how ineffective and outdated their methods are.
As a physical therapist, I see hundreds of people per year who are dealing with some sort of pain. Some of it is work related, some of it due to recreational activities, and some of it doesn’t have a clear origin. The work related issues are interesting. These issues are almost viewed as something completely different than just a typical course of back and shoulder pain and then elevated to a more severe level due to the current nature of worker’s comp claims. (i’ll write another blog post on the craziness of work comp and temporary/permanent disability).
For the past 25 years, ergonomic consultants have been coming to offices, changing people’s work stations, postures, using cognitive behavioral therapies, giving stretches, and teaching strength training principles. It’s likely that many of these consultants are well intentioned, but, if they are not promoting the number one method to reduce musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, then they should be fired, as the evidence has evolved over time.
What is that method? Resistance training. Based on the highest levels of evidence that we currently have, resistance training with weights or bodyweight based exercises are the most effective tool we have to combat workplace related pain and injuries. This honestly does not surprise me as this is the same approach I use in the clinic. I use an active approach with people where weight training and controlling bodyweight movements is implemented on day one. To me, there is no difference of helping someone in the workplace vs. helping someone in the clinic. There is literally no difference. Our physiology doesn’t magically change just because we are working. We don’t turn into feeble humans just because we are working. We are still resilient.
Resistance training, aerobic activity such as walking, cycling, or swimming, all have ridiculous positive effects not only on our ‘work life,’ but when we are outside of work. Various studies over the past years have shown that even by getting 30 minutes of physical activity in a day, even if that’s just walking, will provide us with a significant reduction of not only musculoskeletal pain and injury but heart related conditions as well.
Nearly everyone knows what i’ve just written about in the paragraph above. It’s not news to people that if we could just get outside or get to the gym we’d be healthier, happier people. So, I won’t bore you with platitudes of ‘you can do it,’ rather, i’ll provide you with one strategy that you can start implementing today to help with putting exercise back into your routine.
That strategy is, add it to your calendar. If you don’t have a calendar, make one. If you don’t know how to make a calendar, search on google or youtube and i’m sure you can find many different strategies. If you add in “walk 30 mins” to your calendar, even if you don’t succeed with it everyday, you’ll succeed much more than if you don’t add it at all. Physical activity does not need to be a chore, and based on what you want out of life, and what things you want to be able to do later on in life, it’s not an option.
Often times we do not make decisions that will benefit our future self. This is due to an inability to see our future self as ourself. We view our future self as a stranger… and why the hell would we commit so much time to a stranger? Your future self is NOT a stranger and is intricately intertwined to each decision you make today.
In the spirit of not getting too derailed in my thought process in this blog post, here’s a quick recap of what we talked about…
Have you had an ergonomic specialist come into your workplace? What was that experience like? Was it helpful?
Are you looking for someone to help you with pain or injury that you've developed at work or outside of work? Click the link below and setup a completely complimentary consult with us!
Ready for it?? Keep a CALENDAR.
If I asked you this instant to show me your calendar, what would it look like? Would it look completely empty like mine did for the first 23 years of my life, or would it be stacked full and organized?
This has likely been the most effective action i've taken over the past 5 years that has significantly altered how much i'm able to get done and how much I remember to do.
We've all got SO MANY THINGS going on all at once and I find it incredibly important to be able to manage those things with a calendar. I use a task management software too, but all of my time blocks are scheduled out on el calendario.
Do you keep a calendar? Why or why not?
You need to do these, then.
Go to your local hardware store, buy a PVC pipe about 5 ft. in length, put it in plain sight, and be amazed at how much better your mobility will become over a short period of time.
Mobility is something that is attained over time. It takes consistent effort to get there.
It's taken me months to get to this point with a PVC pipe on an overhead squat!
Of course, you can modify these by squatting to a box if you have trouble getting into a deeper squat due to hip, shoulder, or ankle mobility restrictions.
Got any favorite shoulder mobility exercises?
How many push-ups can you do?
I'm well below my PR which was 72 back in high school...
Ah well, looks like i'll just need to practice a bit more!
It's fun to challenge yourself at new things. Push-ups, running, toastmasters... those are some current things that i'm challenging myself with.
When's the last time you willingly put yourself through something that was uncomfortable?? I'm curious... and what was it??
Is it good or bad? I don't know, maybe it just is what it is...
I'm fascinated by our obsession with whether something is good or bad and, what types of emotions follow. Often times we feel "less than," if we are "bad" in comparison to someone else. Some of the things we are comparing though, make no sense.
I can understand if you are comparing yourself to another athlete and in order to win, you MUST be "better" in terms of objective numbers -- think track and field. Pretty clear cut. What I understand, but think is silly, is our comparison of "the bigger house," the "nicer car," the "larger wedding ring," among other things.
If your happiness relies on external validation and varying degrees of social signaling, good luck on ever getting to a point you feel content.
Contentment is a whole other topic that i'll need to make some videos about in the future...
Have you been subconsciously envying others, comparing yourself in "good" vs "bad" terms?
I bought some lighting equipment a few months back in an effort to improve the quality of video. As it turns out you can also overexpose yourself to light and the video can be too bright. Who knew...
Sometimes my days consist of shooting content, answering emails, and working out between all of that. Gotta get those workouts in!
Today was more of a cardio day with a little bit of strength thrown in towards the end with bent over landmine rows. Heavy bent over landmine rows have been a staple for me, particulalry when training heavy deadlifts.
If you are dealing with pain or injury with training, I do in-person and online (video call) consults where i'll walk you through what you need to do to recover and get back to training. If that's something you know you need, shoot me a message and let's get after it.
Choose ONE thing at a time to work on.
Often times we try to improve our sleep, exercise, nutrition, spiritual practice, and relationships all at the same time. I am not a fan of this approach.
It's hard enough to make one change in your life, so, focus on ONE thing (ideally sleep), and then watch how the others tend to follow.
If you need some guidance with improving these habits, and/or you're dealing with an injury or pain, I do in-person consults and online consults. Send me a message and we'll get you on the right track.
I’ve uttered this phrase. You probably have too.
Not getting 8 hours of sleep? You should start. In a recent podcast interview with Peter Attia, MD and Matthew Walker, PhD they discuss over a three part series just about everything when it comes to sleep. Matthew Walker is the author of “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.”
You can also follow him on twitter where he has tons of tips and data to help you sleep better and deeper:
Want to greatly reduce your risk of cancer, Alzheimers, dementia, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, low energy, and much more? Then you should REALLY consider getting 8 hours of sleep.
Sleep and mental illness are also very closely intertwined. For people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illness, it’s likely that sleep has also been affected. As they discussed, this is likely in a bidirectional manner, too. Lack of sleep leads to higher anxiety, and higher anxiety typically leads to worse sleep.
From personal experience, when I get < 8 hours of sleep, or if it is broken up due to the neighbors dog barking, or loud people, or a multitude of other factors, I will 100% be more anxious during that day and of course, more tired.
This is why I think it is so important to make sure to keep our sleep as consistent as possible in terms of our evening winding down routine and to control what we can control. We can’t control the noisy neighbors or dogs or random alarms that go off at 2:33 am. What we CAN control are our habits prior to going to sleep.
Each of us likely has a different guilty pleasure before going to sleep which could be hindering our depth and length of sleep. Here are a couple:
Blue light + electronics before bed:
I tend to read on my phone or scroll on instagram before bed which not only keeps me awake longer from the blue light but also keeps me up later, sometimes as much as 30-45 minutes which significantly cuts down on my time asleep. This also applies to TV. I know a lot of people have a TV in their room and it’s how they wind down, however, if you are struggling with sleep, it may be time to switch up this habit. What’s more important, living longer and healthier, or catching one show?
If you are drinking that beloved afternoon caffeine this could be causing you to not sleep as deeply. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors which are required to help you fall asleep. Instead of adenosine binding to these receptos, caffeine does, which prevents us from feeling sleepy.
As much as I love having an ice cold beer or some wine an hour or so before bed, it ain’t great for sleep. While alcohol and THC will help individuals fall asleep faster (in some cases) you end up not reaching the same depth of sleep. The deep sleep component of sleep is where we experience more of our memory solidifying from the day prior.
Have you ever felt incredibly HOT after a large meal? I’m talking about physically sweating and feeling a bit uncomfortable -- usually after eating an entire pizza. I love a great meal, however try to...
As nice as it is to be in a cozy room, it’s not great for staying asleep as we’ll often wake up in a sweat. I am very temperature sensitive and I always love when winter comes around (in California) as my room will be a perfect temperature (mid 60’s) to help keep me asleep for longer.
Americans are only getting 6.25 hours of sleep on average which is a large reduction from what it used to be just two decades ago. In order to function at our highest possible level, 8 hours is recommended.
From an evolutionary standpoint, sleep seems to be very disadvantageous. If we were sleeping back before we had shelter, this made us very susceptible to predators (so sleep could get us eaten). For our species to survive mother nature must have a VERY GOOD reason for keeping sleep as a core portion of our life.
If you want to greatly greatly greatly reduce your risk of Alzheimers, mental illness, and a host of other diseases, START OPTIMIZING YOUR LIFE AROUND SLEEP, not the other way around.