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Sleep and Its Impact on Your Body’s Recovery

Sleep and Its Impact on Your Body’s Recovery

Date: August 29, 2022

How sleep impacts the body

Sleep. We have all had a restless night or two where we wake up tired, but what happens if you repeatedly are not sleeping well due to pain? Did you know that not getting enough sleep can increase your sensitivity to pain as well as impact your entire body?

Lack of sleep can increase pain

After a night of poor sleep, you may have woken up slightly irritable or in worse pain. The perception that your pain is increased can be attributed to the elevation of inflammatory markers which contribute to pain. After a night of decreased sleep, these inflammatory markers remain elevated in your blood which can also lead to increased sensitivity and pain perception.

Reduced muscle strength due to lack of sleep

In addition to impacting pain, it can also impair muscle strength. When someone has gone multiple nights without enough sleep, it impairs the body’s ability for maximum muscle contraction, negatively affecting their strength. This has an impact on someone who is participating in physical therapy for an injury as their muscles aren’t performing to their maximum ability with complex movements. It also impairs the ability to learn new skills.

Insufficient sleep can weaken the immune system

Sleep has a widespread impact on the body. Impaired sleep can weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off illness, the body’s ability to heal tissues that were injured, cardiovascular health, mental health, cognitive function, and more.

Habits to help get better sleep

Here is what you can do to set yourself up for success with sleep. Research has shown that this list of sleep habits has helped people get more restful sleep. They are not a magic “fix” but may benefit you.

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Establish a bedtime routine.
  • This can include taking a warm bath, relaxing your mind and body at least 1 hour before bed, reading a book, etc.
  • Avoid watching TV or using light-emitting electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Use your bedroom only to sleep; no working, studying, or eating
  • If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring and repetitive
  • Do not stay in bed longer than necessary
  • Avoid caffeine including coffee, tea, and chocolate after 5 pm
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking 2-3 hours before bed
  • Eat a light dinner with non-greasy or spicy foods and avoid excess liquids 2-3 hours before bed
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature, dark and quiet
  • Exercise regularly in the morning or afternoon
  • Do not nap more than 2 times in the same week
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter sleeping pills
  • Talk with your doctor or health care professional if still having trouble sleeping

Contact AOST for help sleeping better with an injury

If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping due to pain or an injury schedule an appointment with a physical therapist who can help determine a plan to help get you feeling and sleeping better. Often a physical therapist can help provide tips and tricks for positioning at night to help with pain due to an injury, and as you go throughout the rehabilitation process, you will begin to feel better and sleep should also become easier.

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