The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 19, 2012

Sleep can be so tiresome

By Ian Faulkner for the SNAP

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 — “We treat the underlying condition, not the symptoms,” said Dr. Wright of Wright’s Chiropractic and Sports Medicine to me last Thursday when I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his practice. The sentiment stuck with me, and I’ve been wondering ever since if I was guilty of this.

It seems that we are treating symptoms rather than the underlying condition. With the prevalence of over-the-counter solutions in our society, it can sometimes be easier to self-diagnose and treat than consulting a physician. Or, even simpler, we choose manufactured remedies instead of just doing what comes naturally to the body.

Unfortunately, the strictures of modernized life often interfere with what we could consider the body’s natural rhythms. This is why we treat with remedies, to artificially produce results. This is also where I recognized I was treating symptoms of my body.

Sleep. We all need it, but we don’t always seem to make time for it, even at the times when we require it the most.

Since beginning this position with the SNAP, I’ve had to readjust my sleep cycle. Gone are the college days where sleeping past noon was on par. Now I’m up and at my desk at eight in the morning-quite a change, indeed. However, I still want to do things outside of working or sleeping, and this is the rub. Where does one find time for it all? More often than not, one ends up exhausting oneself.

I certainly am no stranger to caffeine. This is one method to artificially push the body and mind beyond the bounds of typical human functioning. However, excessive caffeine can have detrimental effects from muscle twitches to headaches, proving that this stimulant is only a temporary solution.

Recently I’ve seen commercials for products that I can only explain as sleeping potions. Most notably, the makers of NyQuil have released a sister product called ZzzQuil, which is supposed to be a sleep aid. Now this isn’t a terribly new concept in a world where Tylenol PM and melatonin supplements are already on the shelf, but it does beg a different question: why aren’t we sleeping normally anymore?

I can’t answer that question, because of how detailed and varied each person is, the solution will be different every time. But I can recognize the problem and push to eradicate it.

When reaching for the energy drink, cup of coffee or that bottle of sleep aids, ask yourself, why do I need these supplements? If an answer can be determined, it can help one begin to sort through the greater issues causing these problems in the first place.

This isn’t to say that one should never use supplements of this order, but rather to point out the use of said products as being indicative of a greater issue.

If one uses these products, one should be aware of the reasons, lest one get stuck using them indefinitely.