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Are Screens Stopping you from Sleeping?

sleep screens

Nothing is more frustrating than tossing and turning while trying to fall asleep 

Some of us have more restless nights than others, but it is always worth investigating the reasons why our brain just won't fall into that peaceful rhythm that lets us find rest. A factor that is on the rise (and this is no surprise) is the interference of digital devices with our sleep patterns. Screens are keeping us awake because of three main factors:

  • The sounds keep us up: bings, chimes and alarms all interfere with the quality of our sleep and can make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place.
  • They interfere with melatonin production: the blue light illuminating a face in the darkness. This literally suppresses melatonin production in your brain and interferes with your circadian rhythm. 
  • They keep our brains alert by keeping us engaged. Pre-sleep should be devoted to winding down rather than continuing the trend of technology from the daytime. 

Get to sleep easier with a digital detox 

Each night should have at least 30-minutes (and preferably one hour) of gadget-free time before bed. Just like your body needs to be warmed up to exercise with stretching, your brain needs to warm up to the idea of shutting down and sleeping. Avoiding devices for an hour before bed will help you find the peace needed to fall into a deep, restful sleep. A dependable pattern also helps: choosing to go to bed at the same time each night indicates to your body that it is soon time for sleep. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Success with Setting Goals

goal-setting

Not all goals are created equal

In lieu of our last blog about setting goals for spring-time, let's talk about how to set goals successfully! The first and most important element of goal-making is being realistic. As it applies to fitness, be honest with yourself and locate yourself on the fitness spectrum- are you truly a person who shuns all exercise, someone who works out casually 3 times a week, someone who walks to say in shape or a more dedicated gym-goer? Locate yourself and feel no shame- we all start from a different point on the spectrum; the important part is that we start at all. 

A checklist for successful goal-setting 

  • On a piece of paper, write down your goal. 
  • Make it as realistic and detailed as possible- you want to walk 30 minutes a day, stretch for 30 minutes, or complete 3 30-second planks per day. The idea is that you keep it small and easily attainable at first. 
  • Choose a way of going about it that will bring you joy: what activity do you enjoy most? If running is not your thing, don't run! Choosing activities that bring you joy keeps you coming back for more. 
  • Choose a time frame that sets you up for success- no more than two months for a short-term goal. 
  • Schedule the time: set an alarm on your phone or write yourself a big, bold note on the fridge. 

Set one goal at a time 

This is the foundation from which you will grow. The feeling of success that comes with achieving one goal will spur you on to set and achieve the next one. At our office in Sacramento, we can help you achieve any fitness goals you set for yourself by supporting your body and treating chronic pain. Let's stack the odds in your favor- give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Don't Fear the Office Chair

flexibility

Don't let flexibility slip away while you work...

....because it will! Sitting hunched over for 8 hours is a behavior that contributes to a steep decline in flexibility as we get older. If you choose to do nothing about it, then you are leaving your body at risk for injury from basic daily motions. Think of all the standing, walking, lifting, twisting and turning movements that you do in a day, many of which are unconscious processes. Now imagine that you couldn't do these with ease, that simply standing up could cause you pain. That is what is at stake if we let flexibility slip away. 

Can you spare two minutes? 

Instead focus on simple upkeep- 2 minutes an hour to establish a baseline of flexibility and keep muscles tension free; we promise you the effects will be astonishing. Start with these basic movements, all of which can be done from the seated position in your office chair: 

  • Gentle twist: sit up straight, inhale and exhale while gently twisting your body to the left, as you look over your left shoulder. Place your right hand on your knee and rest for 10 seconds then repeat on the other side. 
  • Release the shoulders: hands off the keyboard, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades in toward each other. Hold 10 seconds and release. 
  • Release the neck: sit up straight, place your hand on top of your hand and gently lower your left ear toward your shoulder. Feel the stretch in the opposing side and hold 5 seconds, then repeat on the other side. 
  • Forward fold: sit on the edge of your chair, extend your legs with feet hip width apart. Inhale and exhale and fold your upper body down, reaching toward your feet with your hands. Grasp your ankles and rest this way for 10 seconds. 

Use your time at work to preserve flexibility

Now instead of a situation in which you are actively defeating your own flexibility, you are adding to it! This is a crucial difference-maker in our experience as we age and our bodies slow down: flexibility is one of the factors that can make the difference between chronic pain and an old age of independence. Let's start restoring that flexibility today! Give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Goal-Setting for Spring Time

goal setting for spring

New Years Resolutions should be set in spring

It is the time of renewal and a positive change in the weather; the time of color and abundance in produce; if ever there were a season that was geared toward losing weight it would be this one! It's the time to put the dourness of winter behind and focus on what makes us happy. But how do we start breaking ourselves out of our winter skin to take advantage of the season? By setting goals that are realistic and that take advantage of the season. 

Let's focus on why we want to set goals for spring first:

  • Improve health
  • Boost immune system
  • Get outside and enjoy the season
  • Improve mood

Setting goals that are spring-specific

  • Getting outside: walking 30 minutes in the winter is not the same as in spring. Warmer temperatures mean more calories burned. 
  • Eat 1-2 pieces of fruit a day, preferably from the farmer's market or your own garden!
  • What activity do you love? Biking, swimming, running, walking- choose the one you like most and schedule a few 30-minute blocs for it in your weekly schedule. 
  • Get involved locally: volunteer in the parks, sign up for a community race that supports a good cause and get training. 
  • Stretch in the backyard or on the front porch: there's more to look at! 
  • Spring cleaning: Gets your body moving and helps to clear you mind to fight stress!

The earlier you start the better

With spring right around the corner, there is no better time than now to grab a friend and get outdoors. If you are itching to get outside but your body is ailing from a long winter spent inside, give our office in Sacramento a call. We can help you address long-standing muscular and structural dysfunction so that you can get out and pursue the activities you love. Let's make spring the foundation for a year full of fitness! 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Headaches in the Office: A Computer Screen Conundrum

computer screen headaches

Computer screen headaches are on the rise

For many people, a work day is defined by bodies crunched over, eyes focusing on a bright screen, with the whole office illuminated and a vortex of sound surrounding them. Is it any wonder that a headache could develop out of this kind of sensory stimulation and poor posture? The importance of this illustration is not that a headache could develop, but the fact that there are so many factors contributing to it.

While it is important to determine the true cause of your headache, the computer screen and associated eye strain is quite a common trigger. 

  • Resting focus: because of the small text, we keep computers closer than is a comfortable resting distance for our eyes. 
  • Eye strain: focusing intently on small text causes eye strain as does switching focus between screen and desk. 
  • Lighting: computer work on a bright screen in a brightly lit environment is too much for our eyes to take in constantly and can lead to strain. 

Prevention of computer screen headaches

Let's focus on ways to lessen the impact of a computer screen as it contributes to your headaches.

  • Take a break once every hour to do something completely unrelated to the screen. 
  • If possible, turn down overhead lights and adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor.
  • Create a good ergonomic environment that makes posture easy for your body and reduces eye strain. 
  • Keep your eyes from refocusing too often; this means from notepad to screen for example. Rapid flitting between two objects is difficult for the eyes. 

Prevention is a key part of our wellness program at Espinosa Family Chiropractic. We believe that many of the maleficent factors in life such as headaches can be negated with enough attention to prevention and to that effect, we offer your our services and expertise to keep you happy and healthy. Give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.