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Sweet Dreams are Made of These

How long do you sleep? Are you getting "good quality" sleep? The quality and duration of your sleep have a tremendous effect on your overall health including your recovery from injury. Adults should be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This number increases for the younger population and slightly decreases for the older population.

Here's some other scary risk factors increase with poor sleep hygiene:

- cardiovascular risk (think blood pressure issues, heart attacks)

- metabolic disease (think Diabetes, cholesterol issues, gout)

- depression, anxiety, and the ability to regulate stress

- the ability to concentrate

- injury and risk factors, especially LOW BACK PAIN

Sleeping less than 7 hours/day can lead to increased risk for musculoskeletal injury.

When you don't sleep well, you hurt more. And when you hurt more, you don't sleep well. When we sleep it's the brains time to reset, reorganize, and recharge for the next day. Imagine if you asked your muscles to pump out multiple reps/sets without break....probably wouldn't end well. do we break this vicious cycle? I'm glad you asked!

Behavioral changes!

1)Create an optimal sleeping environment

- Dark lights, comfortable room temperature, reduce sounds

- Stop using electronics 30 minutes before bed!!!!!

- Use the bed for SLEEP and SEX only  

- Take the TV out of the bedroom to decrease temptation

2)Set a schedule --> there's a reason sleep schedules work for the kiddos!  

- Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (yes, even on the weekends)

- Getting about 30 minutes of direct sunlight within the hour you wake up  

- Avoid naps during the day

- Perform relaxing activities before bedtime such as light stretching, breathing exercises, meditation, or soaking in the bathtub

3)Streamline daytime habits

- Decrease caffeine intake. Everyone has a different sensitivity to caffeine, but a general rule of thumb is to stop caffeine intake about 8 hours before your scheduled bed time.

- Exercise is great, but not before bed time. If you only have time to exercise at night, be sure not to skip any mobility work, stretching, or breathing routines afterwards.

- Decrease your alcohol consumption before bed time.

As an alcohol enthusiast, this last point is a tough one. I'm learning quickly that Winston-Salem has such an amazing beer, wine, and cocktails scene. However, there's a significantly negative correlation between consuming alcohol before bed and the effect on sleep quality. This again varies based on amount consumed, with the more consumed having worse outcomes. There's tons of research out there on this, but the general consensus seems to be to stop within 3-4 hours of bed time.

Take away point here: If you're going to drink at night, keep it to 1-2 drinks at happy hour.

If you find yourself laying in bed feeling overwhelmed by this list, get OUT of bed and do something else (not scrolling on your phone) for 15-20 minutes.

Examples: include reading or listening to something boring or making a to-do list so you can forget about forgetting it tomorrow. Then try to get back in bed and sleep. Trying to tackle this list all at once is setting yourself up for failure. My suggestion is to pick 1-2 and master them before

moving to the next.

See where you're strong and continue being strong. Work on the weaknesses little by little. Getting better sleep can be an easy factor that you can take control of. It's time to train your mental game in addition to you. .physical game. 


Dr. Lauren Sibley is a physical therapist at Kinetic Performance and Rehab and is an orthopedic certified specialist. When she is not treating patients you'll find her adventuring with her husband Jesse and her pups Thor and Stella, perfecting her golf game, fitnessing, or playing volleyball.

If you're dealing with an injury or pain, you can contact Kinetic Performance and Rehab directly below.

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