So, you have been to the Doctor and the Physio. You have had your rehabilitation for your injury mapped out and you have started your first exercise program. Chances are that you are learning new movements and habits, so you are really concentrating on getting it right. You are so keen to get back to training and sports (or just back to work) that you will do ANYTHING to accelerate your progress.
Ok then. I am going to tell you what to do next.
· Put down your phone
· Turn off the TV
· Go to bed
Sounds pretty easy right? Except you have almost nailed that level of Candy Crush and that repeat of Big Bang Theory that you have only seen 3 times is on next, you know, the really funny one where Sheldon does something weird! And it is sooo early. It’s only 9pm! You have plenty of time to finish the level, watch the show and be in bed by 10:30; 11 latest…
When your alarm goes the next morning at 6am you will have had 7 hours or fewer sleep. No big deal you think. I do it all the time.
Unfortunately, it is a big deal.
Meta-Analysis of decades of sleep research shows very strongly that sleep deprivation, even in the short term, has a negative impact on just about every aspect of performance. We become less competent at motor tasks (moving) and even worse at cognitive tasks (thinking).
Just how pronounced is this effect? One large analysis from Bradley University looked at combined data from 19 original studies and found that the average functioning of sleep deprived subjects was almost 1.4 standard deviations worse than the non sleep deprived subjects. Put another way they performed in the 9th percentile, meaning they were only as effective, on average, as the bottom 10% of the subjects that got a good night’s sleep.
Still need convincing?
Sleeping less than seven hours a night is linked to greater risks of 10 different diseases
Heart attack - 29.2%
Heart disease - 27.7%
Stroke - 33.3%
Asthma - 28.5%
Lung disease - 45.4%
Cancer - 3.9%
Arthritis - 28.9%
Depression - 36.2%
Kidney disease - 33.3%
Diabetes - 22.5%
“The epidemiological evidence is clear: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life!”' Dr Matthew Walker, Sleep Researcher @sleepdiplomat
So how do you go about getting more sleep? WebMD suggests some of the following helpful tips.
1) Power down. Turn off screens an hour before bed and eliminate light sources in your bedroom.
2) Try not to nap during the day.
3) Set your body clock. Try and go to sleep and get up at consistent times (even on the weekend)
4) Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
6) Don’t eat a heavy meal just before bedtime.
Having a good pillow and mattress will also help. Get your physio to show you suitable sleeping positions if you suffer from back or neck pain.