Thursday, April 8, 2010


In this day and age we are so goal oriented and have so many projects on our list. It makes it easy to consider sleep, a 'wasted time' and try to fill our evening with, watching the news or realty shows on TV.
It is a phenomena I see in patients and athletes alike. For both categories sleep should be their best friend. While for patients pain and suffering depletes their energy levels, the same applies for athletes, with their rigorous training- and race schedules. Sleep deprivation does more than make people drowsy. Sleep-deprived individuals gain weight, experience more pain, stiffness and musculoskeletal injuries. Hypertension and glucose levels are related to sleep disturbance. Sleep disturbance in athletes can slow glucose metabolism by 30% to 40% and increase levels of cortisol, impairing physical performance and recovery. Lack of sleep can affect motor and cognitive skills at the same level of 3 to 4 coctails!
It is well known that sleep is the time when all body systems/cells repair/replace themselves.

Heart rate slows during sleep, allowing for repair of 'worn out' cells, bone-tissue adds calcium, among other minerals during your sleep. Muscles replace contractile cells, that've been targetted all day. The brain rests and repairs transmission networks during sleep.
Adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep in order to be rested and healthy the next day. 4 to 6 hours of sleep, (even though it gives us more time we feel needed, in order to accomplish our activity goals), is not sufficient for long-term health!

Some tips to establish a healthy sleep pattern:
Regular sleep schedule.
Regular bedtime routine.
Stable sleep environment.
Healthy food/drink.
Regular exercise routine.
Healthy bladder/bowel routine.

Setting a regular bedtime and awake time is a first step. Slowing down activities about 30 minutes prior to going to bed, allows the brain/mind to 'unwind' and get ready for sleeping. Sleep environment stability includes darkness, quietness, stable temperature, and layered covering of your body. Healthy food and drink includes, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as well as eating late evening. A small snack of protein, calcium and carbohydrate can promote sleep and at the same time prevent nighttime hypoglycemia. Moderate exercise, at least 4 to 5 hours before bedtime, improves both sleep -quality and-duration.
Sleep equals Health.
Quality Sleep equals Quality Recovery.
Quality Recovery equals Quality Performance;)

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