Exercise and nutrition are often the first things that people think of when creating their health and fitness goals. And when it comes to injuries, it is common to blame things related to exercise or posture.
However, in my experience as a physical therapist, I rarely hear people attribute injuries to sleep.
Research tells us that sleep is just as important to your health as nutrition and exercise. In fact, insufficient sleep has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and can have an impact on the immune system.
Thus, it is no surprise that injury risk increases when you are sleep deprived. In fact, the majority of injuries in professional basketball occur when players are sleep deprived on road trips.
So, what can you do about it?
The CDC recommends getting 7 or more quality hours of sleep per night. There are several things you can do to ensure you get good quality sleep to avoid injury and stay healthy.
To start, you can practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a set of behaviors that can affect sleep quantity and quality. These behaviors can include going to bed and waking at the same time daily and avoiding alcohol or caffeine prior to bedtime.
Another large influence on sleep quality is light. Specifically, blue light suppresses production of one of our sleep hormones, melatonin. Blue light is emitted from the electronic devices we use daily such as computers and phones, and also from LED light bulbs. If you want to get fancy, purchase some blue light blocking glasses to wear a few hours before bed. However, if you want to keep it simple, simply place an electronic device curfew a few hours before bedtime.
There are a multitude of things that you can start doing right now to improve your sleep quality. For any further questions regarding sleep and how it affects your injury risk, please contact us at (240) 686-5609.