Each year thousands of Martin County residents are involved in car accidents. Here are 3 reasons to choose chiropractic care after a car accident. Some car accidents cause minor damage while others cause major damage. The severity of the damage to vehicles and the severity of the injuries vary. Did you know that the vehicle […]
Sleep and Health
Pain can keep you from getting healthy sleep. Sleep is critically important to healing from injuries as well as maintaining good health.
If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. The American Sleep Association estimates that 50-70 million adults in the US have a sleep disorder.
Though the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, the current research suggests that individuals with a sleep disorder may be more likely to develop chronic pain and people with chronic pain are more likely to have trouble sleeping.1
A growing body of evidence suggests that sleep problems pose an important risk for the development of musculoskeletal pain in adolescents. A large cross-sectional study involving 6986 adolescents found short sleep time to be a risk factor associated with regional musculoskeletal pain, particularly chronic regional pain and chronic widespread pain.2
Why Sleep is Important
When you crawl into bed to go to sleep, you might think your body is shutting down and resting. We now know nothing could be further from the truth. Sleepy time is when your body performs many “heavy lifting” tasks that repair, restore and maintain your mind, body and health.. These processes are so intensive that the body waits until you’re asleep to perform them. This is why getting proper sleep following surgery or an injury is an important part of the healing process.
If you been injured in a car wreck or suffer from chronic pain, getting that healthy sleep is easier said than done.
The Role of Sleep in Injury Recovery
Sleep plays a surprisingly important role in injury recovery . Whether you’ve been in a car accident or you’ve hurt yourself at work or play, you need to get healthy sleep so you body can repair damage to muscles, ligaments and tendon, and even bones.3
According to John DeLucchi, Physical Therapy Manager for OrthoCarolina, “If you want to upgrade your athleticism, decrease your risk of injury, decrease persistent pain, recover faster, boost your immune system, have more energy and perform better, sleep is critical.” 4
Your immune system relies on sleep to be able to fight harmful substances. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system can’t properly protect your body from infection. Your body makes white blood cells while you sleep. These white blood cells attack viruses and bacteria that can slow the healing process as well as make you sick.
Sleep is when the body manufactures hormones. During healthy sleep cycles, the brain triggers the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth to repair blood vessels. This helps wounds to heal faster and restores sore or damaged muscles. Some of the hormones your body makes and releases during sleep slow breathing and relax muscles. This process can reduce inflammation and assist with healing. Other hormones your body releases are the ones that make you feel hungry or full. When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone levels of ghrelin go up. Ghrelin is called the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. 5 At the same time the hormones that tell your body that you’re full (leptin) go down. 4 This is why poor sleep patterns often lead to overeating and obesity.
So – to recap – healthy sleep helps you
- heal and recover after surgery or injury
- relax muscles
- repair blood vessels
- fight infection
- restore sore and damaged muscles
- maintain a healthy weight
In a cruel catch-22, chronic pain sufferers find it difficult to get healthy sleep. Chronic pain can lead to sleep disturbances, depression and a heightened risk of suicide.5 Healthy sleep plays a vital role in battling chronic pain, but chronic pain often prevents healthy sleep patterns.
Good Sleep Hygiene
Here are some things to try to help you get a healthy night’s sleep.
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Reserve the bedroom for sleep, intimacy, and other restful activities.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.6
- Banish electronics from your bedroom.
- Be careful about napping. Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. However, daytime naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night.
- Instead of napping, try taking a brisk walk. Exercising – especially when you’re having trouble sleeping – is tough but worth the efforts. Make sure to avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine after noon.
- Alcohol is not a sleep aid. While many people think drinking alcohol helps you sleep, studies show the opposite is true. 7 While alcohol will make you fall asleep faster, the quality of sleep you get is greatly diminished. The more you drink, and the closer your drinking is to bedtime, the more it will negatively impact the quality of your sleep.
If you’re logging in 8 hours of sleep at night but don’t feel refreshed in the morning, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Advanced Wellness Solutions. There are many medical conditions – including chronic neck and back pain – that could be responsible.
There’s a big push to make the day after the Super Bowl a holiday. According to the NY Post, 24 percent of Americans say the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. The reason behind the push goes beyond the junk food and alcohol consumed while watching the game. The game runs late so many lose sleep that night.
Even if you didn’t “eat, drink and make merry,” just by loosing sleep you can still wake up feeling as if you did.
There’s good news if the Super Bowl represents a single “glitch” in your normal nightly sleep routine. According to recent studies, you can expect to fully recover from a single sleep deficit in four days. That means your withdrawal from football is going to last a lot longer than your Super Bowl Monday sickness. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis and good quality sleep helps you heal. If you’ve been injured in a car accident or are suffering from chronic pain, you need to sleep so your body can heal itself.
Sleep deficiency is serious
For those who lose sleep on a regular basis, there’s a lot of bad news on the horizon. Sleep deprivation can quickly spiral into the much more serious condition, sleep deficiency. According to the NIH,
Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity, and even a greater risk of death. Sleep deficiency also is associated with an increased risk of injury in adults, teens, and children. For example, driver sleepiness (not related to alcohol) is responsible for serious car crash injuries and death. In the elderly, sleep deficiency might be linked to an increased risk of falls and broken bones. In addition, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.
Sleep deficiency has also been linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. Studies suggest that sleep loss (defined as less than 7 hours per night) may have wide-ranging effects on the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, including the following:
- Obesity in adults and children
- Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance
- Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
- Anxiety symptoms
- Depressed mood
- Alcohol use
As you can see, sleep deficiency is a serious health issue.
Want to know if you’re sleep deficient?
If you’re experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, you’re probably not getting enough quality sleep. However, there are other symptoms including:
- depressed mood.
- difficulty learning new concepts.
- inability to concentrate or a “fuzzy” head.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, start keeping a sleep diary. Write down
- when you went to bed
- how long it took you to fall asleep
- when you woke up
- how alert and rested you feel in the morning
- how sleepy you feel during the day.
Do this for at least two weeks. If you live in Stuart or Palm City, Florida, you should schedule an appointment with Advanced Wellness Solutions to go over your sleep diary. You’ll be glad you did.