4 tips to help you sleep better
The fact that sleep is important is an understatement – we spend a lot of time doing it, it is a basic human need to function well, and specifically in Physiotherapy it is an important factor for recovery and wellness.
Studies show that poor and reduced sleep is a predictor for injury in athletic populations, and even has health impacts for shift workers but, many of us have sleep at the bottom of our priority list. So, whether it is pain and discomfort due to your ongoing injury or just poor sleep hygiene that may be affecting you here are some tips to get a comfortable good night’s sleep.
- Firstly, sleep hygiene– This refers to your sleeping habits and environment and factors you can influence to create a safe and comfortable space conducive to a great night’s sleep. Below are a few areas to consider and some tips to trial.
- Environment – Set up your room to be comfortable for You – get the right temperature, try and eliminate light and noise. eye masks, heat packs of items or tools you can use to be comfortable going to bed. Make sure your bed is only associated with sleep or intimate activities, avoid other activities like reading, TV and other past times and if you can’t sleep get up try something else before returning to bed.
- Routine – Setting up a routine where possible will help get into the physical and psychological state to sleep. Start to wind down – reduce light emitting devices like smart phones at least 30mins before, activities such as meditation can help in this final 30mins as well as exercising regularly but avoiding this in the few hours before bed. Avoiding naps where possible and setting a regular bed time/wake up structure will also help smooth out any variation to your schedule.
- Diet and Medications – Be careful with certain food and drinks or medications as these can negatively affect your sleep. Caffeine and alcohol/smoking will affect your sleep due to their effects on the body, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants whereas alcohol can increase trips to the bathroom as it can cause a diuretic effect, keeping you up at night.
Sleeping with pain can be difficult and as such affect your sleep quality and duration. Unfortunately, this can affect your recovery and cause this pain to linger so this can be a double edged sword for some.
Ensuring you can find sleep positions that reduce pressure on these effected areas can improve your comfort and hopefully your sleep.
General sleep posture guidelines suggest that we start by supporting the central part of our body first then work our way out, filling in the gaps or suspended areas to get as comfortable as possible.
Some great sleep positions are pictured below:
Sleep Position 1 – Lying on your back with a pillow under your knees to support your spine.
Sleep Position 2 – lying on your front with pillow under your stomach and leg to keep your spine straight.
Sleep Position 3 – lying on your side with a pillow or a towel under your torso and a pillow between your knees.
Written by James Craig, Physiotherapist at MyPhysioSA Payneham.