When we think about what it takes to be healthy and function at our optimal level, most everyone knows that what we eat and how much we exercise is very important. However, what most people do not realize is that how well and how much we sleep may be just as important as diet and exercise.
Sleep has been found to have an important role in the proper functioning of most, if not all, body systems. Sleep is critical for immune function, tissue healing, pain control, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and learning and memory. Without adequate sleep, people can experience increased pain perception, loss of function and reduced quality of life, depression, increased anxiety, attention deficits, information processing disruption, impaired memory, and reduced ability to learn new motor skills. If you are an athlete (competitive or recreational) lack of adequate sleep has not only been shown to have a negative impact on performance and training, but it can also make you more susceptible to pain and injury.
Increasing amounts of evidence demonstrate that chronic insufficient sleep contributes to the development of many health problems including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and diabetes and is associated with increased risk of accidents, injuries, falls, dementia, and increased mortality.
As a therapist who is concerned with helping people be able to physically perform at their best, I now spend time with many of my patients working with them to try and improve their sleeping habits. Everyone has different reasons for not sleeping well but in general, there are some things that can be done to help you get a better nights rest to improve your overall health, along with exercising regularly and eating well.
Here are some general tips that you can try to more consistently rest well:
For the people that I help, adequate sleep is imperative for healing, recovery from injury, lessening pain, and functioning at their highest level. If you or someone you know, is having trouble feeling rested in the morning or sleeping through the night, try some of these tips. Sleep is likely just as important as diet and exercise to a healthy life!
Thanks for reading,