Since I have been practicing as a Physical Therapist, I have encountered hundreds of clients that consistently tell me how little sleep they get. I’m always amazed by their stories, especially as someone who cannot function without 7 hours and presses the snooze button at least twice for those extra 8 minutes of sleep. Commonly, I will see people with back pain who cannot find a comfortable spot or are experiencing shoulder pain from sleeping awkwardly. Once I started to see this trend, I started to investigate the importance of sleep.
Adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep, less and more is not better, as depression is correlated to 9+ hours of sleep. The connection to physical therapy is sleep’s role in pain and hormones. With decreasing sleep, we see a correlation with decreased pain threshold, which means your body pain alarm system is more activated. That causes you to want to move less, which we all know is bad. Leading to an unfortunate cycle of moving less, more pain, and leading to decreased recovery. All of this leads to higher risk of chronic pain, poor stress hormone regulation, and other health conditions such as obesity.
Here are a few tips to getting better sleep:
Create and stick to a sleep/wake schedule
Avoid stimulants at least 6 hours before sleep
Avoid electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before bed
Cool, quiet, and dark room
Check for your body alignment
Sleep is ammunition for the brain, it allows your brain to remove toxins and regroup. This allows you to move more, move better, work better, and live better. Signs to seek medical help include: pain at night, night sweats, frequent awakening at night, or if you just never were a good sleeper. At More Watter Co. we can assist with managing pain, give you some tips on sleeping habits, tips on sleeping posture, and help you move better.