Healthy Sleep Habits Help the Whole Body
Even though it’s an activity that takes up roughly one-third of your life, we often take sleep for granted. Sleep is essential, and not just because it’s the body’s time to rest. During sleep, you may probably know that your body naturally heals, but you might also be surprised just how much good can be done with a healthy night’s sleep. With a little help from the world of physical therapy, you can improve the way you sleep and be on your way to a healthier life.
What is Sleep Health?
Sleep health refers to the knowledge and practice of adequate sleep habits in order to treat physical symptoms, increase alertness and productivity, and improve general quality of life. In their Healthy People 2020 initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 25 percent of American adults suffer from poor sleep health, suffering from insufficient sleep for at least 15 out of every 30 days. This becomes a legitimate public concern as these people report every morning to their jobs in a state of drowsiness and sub-optimal performance.
When you sleep well, your body has a chance to fight infections and regulate your metabolism. On the other hand, chronic short sleep can be a risk factor for things like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. So, what role can physical therapists play in promoting better sleep health?
Sleep Health and Physical Therapy
In the August 2017 issue of their scientific journal, the American Physical Therapy Association weighed in on what kind of role therapists should play in promoting sleep health. Along with screening for common disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome, it was also determined that physical therapists should educate patients on “sleep hygiene,” or positive habits for sleep health. Some of these habits include:
- Going to sleep and waking up at set times every day, in order to set your natural biological clock
- Developing a bedtime routine free of stress or overstimulation
- Avoiding exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine at least 4 hours before bedtime
- Avoiding smoking or alcohol consumption at least 3-4 hours before bedtime
- Avoiding large meals or spicy foods 2-3 hours before bedtime
- Staying away from daytime naps whenever possible
- Making your sleep environment comfortable and relaxing
- Turning off light-emitting electronics (e.g. smartphones and laptops) at least 30 minutes before bed
Improved sleep hygiene has been associated with better sleep quality and reduction in lower back pain. If you find that revamping your sleep health habits still isn’t improving your quality of life, it’s recommended you talk to a doctor or health professional. At BioMotion, we’re the premiere provider of physical therapy in the Schertz area and beyond. If you’re looking for a better solution to pain management, get in contact with us today.