Let me sleep on that!
We all know that sleep is important and that a good night’s sleep makes us feel better and can help us make better decisions, it is estimated that one third of the U.S. population struggle with sleepless nights. We at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center know all too well how lack of sleep affects our patients. Lack of sleep can impede progress in therapy. We see it often with the inability to get comfortable due to pain symptoms, or being woken up due to pain.
Sleep is our body’s time to rejuvenate. Sleep supports recovery of the cardiovascular system, neurologic system, immune function, tissue repair and pain modulation. Research shows that sleep regulates mood and is related to learning and memory functions which can help you to learn a new skill or stay on task throughout your day. Sleep also has benefits for weight control and energy level. “The CDC states that sufficient sleep ‘should be thought of as a ‘vital sign’ of good health.’”
We know that exercise can help protect you against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis and can improve mood and stress management. Exercise can even help you with sleep. As little as 10 minutes of regular exercise can improve your quality of sleep. Physical activity can improve sleep quality and sleep duration. A good workout can give you energy for the day and speed up your metabolism while making you more alert. Experts say to avoid exercising right before bedtime in order to allow your body’s core temperature to return to normal which can take up to 6 hours. A low core temperature triggers your body for sleep2. Although this is true for the general population, little is known about the effects of exercise on quality of sleep in individuals with neurologic conditions. One study looked at sleep quality in patients with multiple sclerosis, and found that with a program of walking, aerobics and stretching patients had improved sleep quality.
In conclusion, a good night’s sleep is the best for everyone. Check out the tips for a better night sleep below. By altering habits including a daily routine of activity you can improve your sleep quality and duration benefitting all body systems for healthy living.
TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT SLEEP
1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This helps set your “clock”
2. Use your bed for sleep and sexual activities. Train the brain to recognize if you are in bed you should be sleeping. Avoid eating, workings, reading and watching TV. If you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bed and return when sleepy.
3. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
4. Avoid moderate to vigorous exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime.
5. Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages at least 4 hours before bedtime.
6. Refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking 3-4 hours before bedtime, this can increase the number of times you wake up during the night
7. Create a relaxing environment, avoiding too much light and disturbing noises. Stop using light emitting electronics (computer, smartphone, TV) 30 minutes prior to bedtime as the blue light that is emitted can disrupt sleep by reducing melatonin production.
8. Do not take prescription or over the counter sleeping pills
9. To reduce heartburn, avoid eating a large meal or spicy food 2-3 hours before bedtime.
10. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if you are still having trouble sleeping.
Adapted from PT in motion magazine, May 2017
Tips for a better night sleep from:
Siengsukon C, Al-dughmi M, Stevens S. (2017) Sleep health promotion: practical information for physical therapists. Physical Therapy. 97(8) 826-836