It’s no secret that sleep is super important to human function, but sometimes people don’t realize that sleep is directly tied to many factors impacting recovery from injury. Research is very clear that sleep is critical for immune function, tissue healing, pain modulation, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and learning and memory. (Siengsukon 2017)
All of those factors are going to be critical when recovering from injury and trying to return to the activity you love. So what are some ways you can get better sleep to increase the chances of you hopping back in the game faster? We have you covered.
Consistency – research is clear this is usually the strongest factor. It is vital to set that biological clock. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each night/morning, and this includes weekends and holidays.
Cold – The body likes the temperature between 60-65 degrees in the bedroom, wherever you feel is most comfortable.
Dark – Use black out curtains or a comfortable eye mask if necessary.
Light exposure – Getting direct sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning will help set your biological clock. Research shows this has a very large impact on how well you sleep. In addition, limit bright light exposure within 30-60 minutes before bed.
Exercise – Limit/avoid exercise within 2 hours of bed. Exercise stimulates your brain and body, which makes it hard to fall asleep and get deeper sleep. Having said that, moderate to vigorous exercise in general helps you sleep better, as long as it is not right before bed.
Naps – Limit naps so that it keeps your biological clock sharp and you’re able to fall asleep easier for deeper rest at night. If you’re feeling the need to nap, limit the nap to 30 minutes or less.
Caffeine – Don’t drink it after noon. Half life of caffeine (depending on the person) is roughly 7-9 hours, and if it is still in your system when you go to sleep, it’ll affect the quality of your sleep.
Alcohol and spicy foods – Avoid drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods within 3-4 hours before bed time. Alcohol especially can increase the number of times you wake up throughout the night and can cause you to wake up early.
Reserve The Bed – Limit use of the bed for sleeping and sex only. This helps train your brain to know that if you’re in bed, you should be sleeping. When you go to sleep, if you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bed, do something relaxing, and return when you feel sleepy.
Bedtime Routine – Try and do the same bedtime preparation activities (warm shower, reading, meditation, etc) each night so your body knows when sleep is coming. Avoid stimulating activities like watching TV or discussing stressful topics.
Mattress and Pillows – Believe it or not, there is no ‘best option’ for mattress firmness or pillow type. It is very individualized and person dependent. High quality sleep is super important, so the best mattress, position, and pillow number and type is the combination that allows you to get the highest quality sleep!
If you do all of these things, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll be sleeping better in no time. Also, notice that none of the options mention sleeping for more time. We recognize that your time is very precious, and getting better, higher quality should allow you to use more of your time doing the things that you love!
Questions? Click the box below for more information!