When it comes to our physical health, there are so many outside factors that lead to total wellness. For example, diet and exercise play a big role in our overall health, but so do lesser known aspects like sleep quality. Getting good, quality sleep is essential for your physical health, and physical therapists can help you achieve restful sleep. In today’s blog, we explain why quality sleep is so important, and we share how your PT can help achieve the best sleep possible.
Sleep Quality and Physical Therapy
A recent study in the August issue of Physical Therapy suggests that more than half of Americans experience some type of sleep disturbance multiple times a week, and that percentage only gets higher when you examine only the population of people undergoing physical therapy for a pain issue. Maybe you are having trouble falling asleep, while others find it hard to stay asleep once they finally do nod off. In the article, the authors note that sleep has an important role in the proper functioning of most if not all body systems. Sleep plays a significant role in our:
- Immune function
- Tissue healing
- Pain tolerance and perception
- Heart health
- Prevention of depression and anxiety
- Cognitive function
Researchers found that the most common ailments of patients receiving physical therapy who were also dealing with a sleep disorder include those who were being treated for spinal cord injuries, neck pain, back pain, neurologic conditions and individuals with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The good news is that because there is such a crossover between conditions requiring physical therapy and patients who suffer from diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep disorders is that PTs can help patients with both. Here’s how PTs can help patients get their sleep quality under control and in turn help with their physical therapy condition.
- Educate – Most people don’t know just how important sleep quality is to our overall health. Sleep is a restorative process that allows body parts to heal from the rigors of the day. We’re trying to help further understanding of their link with this blog, but your physical therapist can go into greater detail about how sleep can affect your individual condition.
- Referrals – Physical therapists can also take a closer look at your total body wellness and refer you to a sleep specialist who can pinpoint exactly what’s causing your sleep disturbances and work with you to get your sleep issue under control.
- Recommended Changes – Your physical therapist can also recommend some small changes that you can do throughout the day to help improve your chances of achieving restful sleep at night. Some changes may include limiting caffeine late in the day, making your sleep space as dark as possible, removing phones or televisions from the bedroom so you can just focus on sleep and avoiding eating large meals near bedtime.
- Personalized PT and Sleep – Finally, your physical therapist can design an at-home physical therapy routine that can try to help your sleep quality. They can explain what times throughout the day you should be performing your exercises, and they can design a routine that will leave you feeling tired, accomplished and ready for a good night’s sleep.
If you have questions about how sleep may be affecting your injury recovery, or you want help with getting more quality sleep, reach out to the specialists at OrthoRehab Specialists today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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