We have all heard the recommendations of sleep, 7-8 hours of sleep to be able to have more energy but we all know how hard that can be. Between work, school, family life, and all other things life throws at us, 7-8 hours can be hard to come by! Especially if you are dealing with an injury or chronic pain that is affecting your quality of sleep. But did you know quantity AND quality of sleep can affect your risk of injury and rehabilitation? Research has shown that lack of sleep can affect performance in both sport and work activities. Many think of sleep as a period of inactivity, but it is a necessity required by the body to be able to maintain cardiovascular and neurological health, as well as other bodily functions. Research has also shown that a decrease in sleep, could increase your sensitivity to pain potentially affecting rehabilitation potential when recovering from an injury. Enough sleep also helps in making you more alert and cognitive when making fast-paced decisions and critical judgement calls.
Here are some good tips on maintain good sleep hygiene:
- Set up a sleep routine
- Reserve 1-1.5 hours before sleep time to “power down.” Turn off your cell phone, TV and electronics and place it away from where you sleep. A nice shower/bath, or practicing quiet meditation to relax the mind from racing thoughts. Maintaining this schedule as a routine helps the body get ready for sleep.
- The bedroom is only for sleep
- Try to keep reading, work, food, and assignments away from the bedroom. This way you set up a pattern where your body knows that this area is set up for sleep. If you feel like you can’t fall asleep while you are in the bedroom, step outside and walk around until you feel you are ready to go back to bed.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, and smoking prior to bed.
- Alcohol and caffeine could increase the number of times you need to use the bathroom, making it harder to stay asleep. Most cigarettes contain a substance called nicotine, and coffee contains caffeine. Both substances are known as a stimulant, meaning it is meant to keep you awake.
- Some people find sleepy time teas to be beneficial in calming down. Check with your doctor before trying any herbal teas to make sure it does not have any effects on your medications.
- Set up your bedroom to be a cool, dark and quiet area.
- Most people find the most comfortable sleep when the room is very dark, and slightly cooler. Sleep masks, and black-out curtains can darken the room, and fans can help cool the room down. Ear plugs could also help with decreasing sound in the room (especially if your partner snores!). Light from electronics could also affect your sleep quality, that is why it is recommended to “power down.”
- Exercise regularly.
- Exercise allows us to burn off calories and can help in feeling tired so that you will be able to rest easier. Exercise is also great for cardiovascular health and preventing injuries.
- Decrease the amount of naps you take during the day
- The more naps we take during the day, the more time it takes away from our actual sleep cycle. That is why some people find it difficult to fall asleep at night if they have taken naps during the day.
Hohman Rehab’s physical therapy team work with patients of all ages in Ocoee and Clermont, Florida. Call today to schedule an evaluation 855-404-6908