Step 6 – Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep deprivation alone can cause musculoskeletal pain, without any injury!

I know it’s hard to believe, but it has been scientifically proven in sleep deprivation experiments, and not that much sleep deprivation is necessary.

Adequate sleep is considered to be around 8 hours for adults each night and this normal amount of sleep is rarely gotten in our society. Sleep is the least understood and most important part of our day. Sleep is restorative for our mind and body; it is essential for good health.

There are six obvious reasons for poor sleep patterns. These are inadequate exercise habits, chronic stress, late night TV watching, poor air quality, and insufficient darkness. These are easily correctable with some different lifestyle changes and choices. The sixth reason for poor sleeping is a low vitamin D level, which is also easily correctable.

Certainly better sleep can be had with a comfortable bed and there are no hard rules about a soft or hard mattress. There are so many choices from conventional mattresses to Tempurpedic, and Sleep-by-Number. Just find what is most comfortable for you. They all have their advocates. Less anxiety and stress also promote more relaxed sleep patterns. There are even sleep monitors that can be worn at night to measure the depth and quality of your sleep. (

Action Steps

Step 1

Implement the first five Steps of this program. Even if you slip up, give yourself a break and just start again. Proper eating and exercise play a huge part of getting a good night’s rest and good rest plays a huge part in healing. It can take a while to implement this program and start to feel better. So be patient and look for little gains. Some steps will come easier than others, just keep at it.

Step 2

Get your stress under control, remember, it is your response to things in your life, not the things themselves. Sometimes you can change the things that bother you, and sometimes not, but you can change your response.

Step 3

Think about your bed and how comfortable it is. Make changes to keep yourself comfortable and supported. Pillows between your legs or under your knees can add to comfort.

Step 4

Be sure you are taking some Vitamin D3 supplement. (500-1000 u/day). You can have a blood test to measure it if you like. Melatonin is a neuro-hormone that can help with sleep and be purchased over the counter.

Step 5

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks (coffee) are not good for a restful sleep. You may think that alcohol helps you to get to sleep, but it will often wake you up at 2 or 3 am in an uncomfortable and dehydrated state. Keep in mind that drinking caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, in the afternoon can interfere with getting to sleep at bedtime if you are sensitive to the caffeine.

Step 6

Heavy meals at dinner with lots of meat will often cause one to waken at 230-330 am and disturb a restful sleep, so watch the heavy meals, especially with alcohol.

Step 7

Air quality is very important in general, but especially in the bedroom. Consider getting a high quality air filtration unit for your bedroom. There are many types of filters in these units, but some type of HEPA filter is good and it should be easy to change. Get a unit that is over-sized for your bedroom so you can run it quietly on a low speed and have plenty of flow.

Step 8

Some people require complete darkness to sleep. This can be achieved with thick curtains or a mask. Don’t forget to turn off the TV set and the computer screen as well.

Step 9

Create a sleep schedule that may include a routine that gets you prepared to go to sleep. Maybe some reading, TV followed by brushing of teeth may start you in the right direction for a good night’s sleep. Carry this sleep schedule through the weekend as much as possible.

Step 10

Consider buying a sleep monitor. A Zeo from is worn at night to monitor the depth and quality of your sleep. This device can help you see the effects of the things you do before you go to bed (coffee, alcohol, meals, and time you go to sleep). Another monitor is the Body media band that measures many different parameters of activity including sleep.

Congratulations ! You have now finished one of the most important steps for healing your painful back, by getting enough sleep. In the next and final step, we will talk about how psychology can play a part in back pain.