Mental and physical performance has been directly linked to sleep. It’s no wonder why humans spend about one-third of their lives asleep. Yet, millions of adults and children have difficulty sleeping, reporting frequent sleep disturbances and inadequate rest. In the world of physical therapy, sleep is especially important when it comes to your recovery. If you are struggling with sufficient, quality sleep, here are five strategies that may help.
Minimize Light and Sound
While it may be obvious, keeping your room dark and limiting disruptive noises will benefit your sleeping quality. Draw the curtains or blinds to block unwanted light and consider white noise to minimize unwanted sound. Lights from electronic devices like your laptop or phone should be turned off and ideally kept in a different room.
Keep a Routine
It’s key to maintain a sleep schedule throughout the week — even on the weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps your body establish an internal clock and waking up and falling asleep will naturally be easier. According to sleep experts, keeping a routine not only tends to increase the number of hours of sleep people get each night but it can also improve the quality of that sleep.
Stretch Before Bed
Gentle stretching 30-60 minutes before bed can help transition you to sleep and wind down for the night. Focusing your attention on your breath and body through stretching can improve your quality of sleep and relax the mind. Other relaxing activities before bed include meditation, taking a bath, and journaling. Check out these eight stretches to try before bed.
Consider Your Diet
When going to bed, you should not feel hungry or overly full. Heavy meals within a couple of hours of your bedtime could cause discomfort, and hunger pains will create a distraction. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol also should not be consumed too close to bedtime either. Stimulants will keep you alert and may limit the quality of your sleep. Alcohol could disrupt sleep later in the night, influence your circadian rhythm, and block REM sleep – the most restorative type of sleep.
Upgrade Your Mattress and/or Pillow
Your lack of quality sleep may be less about your sleep habits and more about your mattress or pillow. If your mattress is more than five years old, or you are waking up with stiffness, numbness, and pains, it may be time to upgrade. A quality mattress and pillow will provide proper support to your body to ensure a healthy posture. Otherwise, you may experience stress on the back or neck over time.
The Lattimore Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Network was founded by Physical Therapists John and Cindy Shuman in 1992. Since then Lattimore has grown to 20+ locations in 4 different counties. What’s unique about Lattimore is our patient experience. We tailor your 1:1 treatment around your individual needs, conditions and goals. With us, you’re more than just a number. You’re a member of our local community and we’re invested in your success. Call 1–888-PT ROCHS to experience The Lattimore Way!