The Importance of Sleep

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When we think about being healthy, we often consider our diets and activity level. However, sleep is an important component for our overall health and well-being. 

We see many people (currently over video chats / physio appointments) who have had their sleep disrupted by pain. Pain may stop a person from falling asleep or pain may wake them up during the night. As Physiotherapists we help provide tools to manage pain and help support tissue healing if that is what is the culprit.

Why is sleep important?

Though not everything about sleep is well understood, we do know that sleep is an active period for our brains during which important restoration and strengthening processes occur.

One of the most important roles of sleep is to retain and consolidate memories – these memories include new skills and information. During our developmental years when we are learning lots of new skills and functions, more sleep is required. Into our adult years, the amount of sleep we need on a nightly basis decreases. It is recommended that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night; school age children require 7-9 hours per night and teenagers require 8-10 hours per night.

What are the benefits of sleep?

There are many benefits to obtaining a good quality night of sleep. 

  • Improves memory, focus and concentration
  • Increases problem-solving and attention to detail
  • Increases alertness
  • Improves mood
  • Improves immunity
  • Decreases risk of developing disease
  • Helps maintain healthy weight
  • Helps decrease stress levels

How to have a good quality night of sleep?

Sleep habits are important for having a good quality night of sleep. These include:

  • establishing a regular sleep routine – going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time each day;
  • using the bed for sleep and sex only – this means avoiding working or watching tv while in bed;
  • avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bed – for some people who have trouble with sleeping, this may mean limiting caffeine even earlier;
  • limiting screen time 30-60 minutes before bedtime – wind down before bed with a good book instead;
  • exercise during the day at a time that suits you. Some people find that intense exercise right before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Exercise in general is helpful to help with sleep;
  • meditate. Some form of meditation, praying, gratitude journalling, breathing exercises help calm down the nervous system to more closely resemble the parasympathetic or rest and digest system.

I know with our lives disrupted right now, our routines may look different to what we’re used to. However, making sleep a priority can help maintain a more structured schedule to our days and help with decreasing stress and anxiety during this uncertain time. 

Remember that we are here for you during this time. If you are a patient and have questions about your care please reach out (905) 582-9700.

Your Physiotherapist is more than happy to connect and answer any questions. If you are wondering how virtual physiotherapy can help you sleep better, decrease pain, help you reach your goals we are providing free telephone consults for anyone in Ontario. Contact us now!