Sleep is an essential part of our well-being and plays an important role in healing, muscle recovery, and memory. Adults should get seven or more hours of sleep a night. School-aged children and teenagers need eight to 11 hours. Regardless of age, everyone should get a minimum of seven or more hours of sleep each night.
Managing your sleep is key to your overall health. Healthy sleep requires your effort throughout the day, as well as before bedtime.
Not getting enough sleep can be a problem and can contribute to the development of chronic pain. It also may worsen anxiety or depression symptoms. So, what should you do if you are not getting enough sleep?
Sleep can be altered for several reasons, but there are many things that you can control when it comes to sleep. Risk factors for short sleep spans include obesity, physical inactivity, daily smoking, and too much alcohol use. If you have difficulty getting comfortable at night, a Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT can help you with positioning.
Dr. Palmer is a movement expert who improves quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. After an evaluation, he will create treatment plans for your specific needs and goals.
Good sleep hygiene, the practice of healthy behaviors you can do to affect your sleep
routine, is a great place to start. Try these sleep hygiene tips to improve the quality of your sleep.
In the morning . . .
Open the blinds and get exposure to sunlight as soon as possible
This helps to set your circadian rhythm, so that your internal clock will help regularize your pattern of sleep
Instead of coffee, reach for water and drink 1-2 glasses
Your body is dehydrated and is need of rehydration to help flush out the toxins that have accumulated through the night.
Get outdoors for even a few minutes of exercise.
This helps to establish your body clock for a pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
During the day . . .
Engage in more physical activity.
Staying active helps in getting restful sleep. Once cleared by a healthcare provider, try to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Dr. Palmer can help you find the right exercises for your needs and abilities.
Increase your exposure to light.
The lack of Vitamin D is linked to a higher risk of sleep disorders. Consider increasing your exposure to light during the day.
Avoid long napping.
As an adult, if you take naps, keep them to 20 minutes or less.
If you are a smoker, stop smoking two to three hours before going to sleep.
If you drink alcohol, do so sparingly.
Avoid caffeine after midday.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you more alert and limit restfulness. It is also a diuretic that can increase your need to urinate at night.
Before bed . . .
Keep a sleep schedule
Set a bedtime that will allow seven or more hours of sleep. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
Set the temperature
According to the National Sleep Foundation, somewhere around 65 degrees makes for the best sleep. Assure that the temperature is right for you, and you have the necessary blankets and pillows for your comfort.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
This may include dimming the lights, taking a warm bath, drinking a warm non- caffeinated herbal tea, avoiding the use of any technology at least one hour prior to bedtime, and reducing noises. Using meditation or soft relaxing sounds can help prepare you for sleep.
Think positive thoughts. Mentally going through a “gratitude list” can be a calming and happiness-inducing exercise.
If you cannot turn your mind off, “empty” your mind by writing down everything on your mind.
Keep in mind some medications may change how well you sleep. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about timing your medications to promote a balance of sleep and wakefulness.
If sleep remains difficult, keep a sleep diary to learn more about your sleep patterns and discuss it with Dr. Palmer. A physical therapist also can help you if you experience pain or discomfort that limits your movements or disturbs your sleep. Learning the right exercises and positions may be helpful for you.
If you wake up and cannot go back to sleep
If you cannot go back to sleep within approximately 20 minutes, avoid looking at the clock. Go to another room and listen to soothing music, read a non-stimulating book, or other relaxing activity. Return to bed when you feel sleepy. Keep doing this even if you don’t return to sleep. The important thing is to remain calm and not stress over not sleeping!
A portion of the following article can be credited to Christina Sue Crawford, PT, DPT, who is Board-certified clinical specialist in geriatric physical therapy and Advanced credentialed exercise expert for aging adults. https://www.choosept.com/resou...
It's no secret that a balanced sleep schedule is beneficial for your mental health, mood, and overall function. Did you know that sleeping is also good for your heart? Sleeping temporarily lowers your blood pressure, giving your heart and blood vessels a much needed break from our busy schedules.
Interested in finding the right solution without medication or surgery? Contact us regarding our FREE 30 minute Discovery Session. Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT will learn about how pain and injury has affected your life, and solutions that he can provide.
Palmer Concierge Physical Therapy
667 Madison Avenue4th & 5th Floors
New York, NY 10065
If you would like to be removed from receiving updates and newsletters from Palmer Concierge Physical Therapy, manage subscription options below.