Healthy Sleep Habits To Protect Your Back And Avoid Sleep Deprivation

By the time you are 75 years old, you’ve spent nearly 26 years sleeping! As adults, we need an average of 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted slumber, though most Americans average only 6.5 hours a night! If you’re dealing with back pain, or maybe even have had back surgery recently, you might be getting even less than the averaged 6.5 hours a night.  Sleep is incredibly important for our health and recovery, and aids in our brain function by repairing and regenerating cells, detoxifying and assisting with crucial memory building, and consolidating memories. When you start to lose at least an hour of needed sleep each day, it is a phenomenon known as Sleep Debt. Sleep Debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough zzz’s during the week, which can ultimately lead to sleep deprivation.


Yes, sleep debt can be repaid. The best way to rejuvenate yourself back to its fully rested self is by adding an hour or more of sleep to your nightly routine. Over the course of several weeks {or months if you’re really sleep deprived!} your body will begin to reset itself. You may feel groggy at first, but this is an adjustment period that will soon even out. Start by allowing yourself proper time to sleep and wake up naturally, keeping in mind the most regenerative sleep occurs between 10pm and 2am.


Short-term sleep deprivation leads to a host of negative effects:  a foggy brain with poor memory, decreased creativity, poor judgment, impaired vision and driving, and increased impulsiveness just to name a few. Long-term effects are even more significant and have been linked with depression, obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. Long term sleep deprivation also increases the body’s overall stress and decreases the ability of the immune system to function properly, making one at higher risk for disease. Furthermore, there is a well-documented relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain. People who sleep less than 5 hours a night have an estimated 50% chance of being obese compared to those that sleep 7 or more hours a night. Researchers believe this is related to a disruption in the balance of key hormones that control appetite, including ghrelin which is a hormone that stimulates appetite, fat production, and body growth. Additionally, the stress hormone cortisol increases when we are sleep deprived causing us to crave foods high in fat and carbohydrates.


  • Having relaxed posture, being well balanced
  • Use a pillow that keeps your neck in a comfortable position
  • Make sure your mattress is comfortable for you, and your spine is aligned
  • Post surgery: sleeping position matters most – avoid laying on your incision
  • Go to bed and wake up the same time everyday. Consistently reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle to promote restful sleep.
  • Get your daily dose of Vitamin D! Enjoy the sunshine!
  • Try to wind down an hour and a half before going to sleep and reduce your light exposure.
  • Create a sleeping ritual: try a warm shower or bath, a good book, and a cup of herbal chamomile, mint, or lavender tea.
  • Avoid watching/using your TV, gaming consoles, computer, etc. before bed as it stimulates your brain.
  • Take the TV out of the bedroom!
  • Turn on a fan or download white noise to play in the background if you need noise to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch, especially after 2pm.
  • Keep your bedroom cool an dark, and allow natural light to wake you in the morning.
  • Exercise regularly but aim to do so 3-4 hour before bed.
  • Limit alcohol consumption before bed as this may make you feel drowsy but does not induce a truly restorative sleep.

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