Sleep Hygiene and Maximizing your Recovery

MAVen team

The Importance of Sleep

Most of us know how important exercise is for rehabilitation and performance training; and prioritize it on our journey through rehab, and to achieve our performance goals. 

However, what about the other side of the curve? Rest and recovery are just as important as the work portion of our journey. Sleep is restorative and allows our bodies time to heal and recover from injuries. Sleep also helps to repair injured tissue, repair and grow muscle, improve blood flow, decrease inflammation, bolster our immune system and improve our cognitive function.  

Sleep Hygiene 101

What is good sleep hygiene? Several environmental factors lead to a good night's rest, including:

  1. Time - Experts recommend that healthy adults get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night from the age of 18 onwards. 
  2. Comfort - A comfortable mattress and pillow are important to support your neck and spine. 
  3. Temperature - Cooler room temperatures generally promote better sleep than warmer temperatures.
  4. Noise - A lot of noise has been shown to decrease slow wave and REM sleep. While living in a city can make creating a quiet bedroom challenging, white noise machines or using a fan can help to drown out city noise. 
  5. Light - A darker room or using an eye cover can help promote better sleep.
  6. Body Position - If you sleep on your back, placing a pillow underneath your knees can help relieve pressure on your lower back. If you’re a side sleeper, placing a pillow between your knees can help keep your pelvis and hips in better alignment, as well as help ease lower back pressure.

Pre-bed routine

There are several things that you can do during the day or as part of your bedtime routine to improve your night’s sleep. 

Limit Screen Time

Studies have shown that limiting screen use 30-60 minutes before bedtime has a positive effect on your nighttime sleep. Blue light has been shown to stimulate brain activity and disrupt melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that helps to regulate sleep. 

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption Later in the Day

Consuming both alcohol and caffeine later in the day has been shown to disrupt sleep. Although alcohol can make it easy to fall asleep, once it wears off your sleep can be negatively affected. Caffeine has the opposite effect - making it challenging for you to fall asleep in the first place. 

Avoid Consuming Large Meals Before Bed

Overeating before bed can interfere with sleep as the body has to devote energy to digest the food. Digestion usually slows down during sleep, but eating a big meal before bed forces your body to choose between sleep and digestion.

Stop Working from Bed

As more people work from home, working from our laptops from bed is common. As comfortable and convenient as it might seem, working from bed causes us to associate our beds with wakefulness as opposed to rest and sleep. 

Sleep and MAVEN

Are you having trouble sleeping? Talk to your Doctor of Physical Therapy at MAVEN. Our Physical therapy services in Santa Monica and LA offer solutions whether you’re recovering from surgery or an athlete looking for improved sleep to allow the body time to repair muscles, we can help! We’ll advise you on the most comfortable positions and how to maximize your sleep and recovery at home.