The effects of sleep on health are extensive. Matt, a physiotherapist from our Burnside practice, explains the mental and physical impact that poor sleep can have on the body, as well as strategies to improve your sleep habits.
Do you feel as though you’ve had enough sleep this week? Can you recall the last time you woke up without needing an alarm and feeling refreshed, not desperately needing coffee? If your answers are “no”, you aren’t alone. Two-thirds of adults throughout developed nations fail to obtain the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep (Sleep Health Foundation 2021). So much so, that the World Health Organisation has now declared a sleep loss epidemic (Walker 2018).
You are likely not surprised by this fact, however, you may be surprised of the consequences. Consistently sleeping less than 6-7 hours a night weakens your immune system, which doubles your risk of cancer and developing Alzheimer’s disease. Inadequate sleep extremely disrupts blood sugar levels to pre-diabetic levels. In addition, your likelihood of developing brittle coronary arteries and blockage increases, which is a direct link to cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart failure. Sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety (Walker 2018). mental and physical impact
In 2020 during my 3rd year of my Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours), I wrote a systematic review of the current best available evidence that investigated the effect of poor sleep on chronic low back pain. We found that poor sleep was associated with higher levels of next-day pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, reduced probability of recovery, reduced physical function, and increased psychological distress. mental and
Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits
Add the above health consequences up, and it is clear that good sleep hygiene is paramount to good health. Below I have provided you with 6 tips for healthy sleep (Suni 2020):
1. Stick to a sleep schedule: set aside 8 hours for sleep, and go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
2. Avoid caffeine and nicotine: The stimulating effects of caffeine and nicotine can take hours to wear off and can significantly disrupt sleep.
3. Limit screen time before bed: Exposure to light can make it more challenging to sleep.
4. Limit daytime naps: if you choose to nap, limit yourself to 30 minutes and avoid napping late in the day.
5. Increase physical activity: Not too close to bed time though!
6. Manage stress: getting organised, delegating tasks, and meditation can help.
You can also speak to a Physiotherapist at one of our locations for more advice on healthy sleeping habits and information on the effects of sleep.
This blog was written by Matt Belperio (Physiotherapist), from our Burnside practice.
The Sleep Health Foundation 2019, Sleep Health Foundation Fact Sheets, Available at: https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/fact-sheets.html
Walker, M 2018, Why We Sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. New York, Ny: Scribner, An Imprint Of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Suni, E 2020, How to Sleep Better, Sleep Foundation, Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips.