2 min read

Sleep plays a vital role in many bodily functions and our mental health.  During REM sleep, the body shifts its resources to focus on repairing tissues and cells. It also begins to reboot central nervous system energy and function.

Poor sleep can lead to;

  • Reduction in exercise capacity, ability to perform 
  • Reductions in ability to adapt to training stimulus
  • Decreased ability to build muscle and cardiovascular fitness
  • Decreased ability to develop skills
  • Reductions in reaction time, decision making and memory
  • Slowed recovery from injury
  • Reductions in academic performance

 

Golden Retriever sleeping on Coloured blanket image for osteopath Miranda's article about sleep and injury recovery

 

SO HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR SLEEP?

  • INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF SLEEP - it is recommended that we get 6-8hrs of sleep per night, however someone with increased training demands as an athlete should aim for 10hrs.
  • HAVE A SET ROUTINE (BEST YOU CAN)- set a consistent sleep and wake time, this will assist with setting the body into a good sleep/ wake cycle. 
  • DON’T OVERHEAT- it is often harder to sleep when we are too hot, have the room temp around 19-21 degrees 
  • LEAVE WORK FOR THE OFFICE- bed time is time to get the mind and body ready for sleep, avoid taking work into the bedroom.
  • REDUCE TECHNOLOGY USE PRIOR TO SLEEP- avoid screens including phone screens up to 20 mins before bed time as the blue light can impact on our sleep. Try read a book or some meditation prior to sleep.
  • AVOID EXCESS  CAFFEINE AND SUGAR LATE IN THE DAY - this will help lead to a more calm evening and prevent those afternoon / evening spikes.
  • PLAN FOR THE DAY AHEAD  - doing this before sleep will prevent those last minute thoughts about tomorrow or thinking about what you need to get done the next day. 
  • BE COMFORTABLE- often pain and or injuries can cause discomfort at night, make sure you go to bed feeling comfortable, placing pillows where you need to, having a suitable pillow for you neck, use of a heat pack prior to bed and a plan in action if you do wake in pain. That might be re-positioning, medication or a simple stretch to do. 
  • TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL- don’t let sleep deprivation build, talk to a health professional about individual strategies that you can implement or you may need further assistance from a GP/ Psychologist. 
  • CONSIDER SEEING AN ACUPUNCTURIST - you can learn more about how acupuncture can help your stress and sleep here.

Written by Osteopath Miranda Cooper, Vyne Health 

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