Looking to get the most out of your therapy? Then look no further, as these 3 tips can help speed your recovery.
When most healthcare providers talk about recovery from an injury or surgery this vital component is often left out.
However, most athletes know (myself included) that missing this vital component is actually when the true recovery process takes place.
What am I talking about? SLEEP
All of the grueling hours on the bike, weight room or practice field do wonders to tear the body down and damage the muscles, joints and connective tissue but sleep is when the repair process happens that allows us to return bigger, faster, stronger.
Coming back from an illness, injury or surgery is no different than recovering from a hard workout or exercise session.
When recovering from an injury, illness or surgery sleep is vital yet most Americans do not get enough rest as it is and when they are in pain it makes it even more difficult to get a good night’s rest.
The solution most figure is to take some type of over the counter sleep aid, get a dangerous sleeping pill prescription from their doctor or resort to having a few drinks before bed.
While these options may help you fall asleep it is what they do behind the scenes that actually destroy your internal clocks as well as your sleep quality and ability to recover.
Today I want to share with you 3 tips to help you get a good night’s sleep naturally which in turn will help you with your therapy and recovery.
First let’s talk about alcohol’s effect on sleep.
Sure it tastes good and helps us fall asleep faster but at what cost?
Having alcohol too close to bedtime (within 2-3 hours) can disturb our natural internal clock making it difficult to get the needed REM and deep sleep which is essential in the repair process our bodies and brains need.
Alcohol reduces our natural production of growth hormone which is essential during times of recovery.
Alcohol also decreases melatonin which is our natural sleep aid.
TIP: If you are going to have a drink in the evening try to have it at least 3 hours before you plan to go to bed. Also avoid mixers with sugar or caffeine in them as this can also affect your internal sleep clock.
Second –do you enjoy a good late night snack? Maybe a brownie with some blue bell ice cream and hot fudge…you can see where my weakness lies.
Actually having food close to bedtime, especially a large meal or snack can disturb your internal clocks, similar to alcohol.
When we eat close to bedtime it confuses our bodies. The body has to divide its resources. Part of the attention is spent trying to digest food while the other part is trying to get you ready for bed. This is a bad combination.
Having your internal digestive clock and bedtime clock out of sync can elevate your metabolism and resting heart rate, both of which need to be reduced at bed time.
Eating close to bedtime can also affect the time it takes for you to fall asleep as well as your deep and REM sleep numbers (if you track them with your fitbit or apple watch).
TIP: try to avoid the last snack or meal at least 2 hours before bed, preferably 3 hours.
The third tip is going to sound a little strange but there is some very solid research behind it…Meditation.
Meditation is actually similar to sleep. It causes your mind to relax, reduces cortisol (stress hormone), and even stimulates healthy brainwave activity.
And by practicing meditation or mindfulness more often it allows you to enter the relaxed state easier the more frequently you do it. Think of it as relaxation exercises for the mind.
Meditation is an all natural and medication free alternative to harmful prescription pills.
In a study performed at UCLA researchers found meditation and mindfulness practices to be effective in remedying short-term sleep issues. It also reduced the feelings of being tired, cranky and unfocused the following day.
In summary, try to finish eating and drinking alcohol at least 3 hours before bed and practice daily meditation/mindfulness training to improve your sleep quality which will improve your recovery from an injury, illness or surgery.
If you are not tracking your sleep with a device such as an apple watch or fitbit then I highly recommend it. It makes it easy to see the quantity and quality of your sleep and how incorporating these simple tips can lead to greater improvements.
If you would like to learn how we are incorporating these tips with our patients to help them recover quicker then give us a call at 817-220-MOSS (6677).
We love helping everyday people get back to doing the things they love to do.
At MOSS Rehabilitation Center we make it easy for you to get started. We even have a simple 3 step process.
1. Schedule a FREE NO Obligation, Discovery Visit with one of our experts. During this visit, you will talk with one of our friendly experts about your issues. This is a safe and confidential visit, you can trust that your safety and privacy is important to us. We are taking extra measures to ensure that you remain safe during this pandemic.
2. Receive a Customized (Individualized) Treatment Plan. Based on your free discovery visit, we will put together a custom, unique to you plan that will address all of your nagging pains and issues. The goal is to get you back to your healthy self as soon as possible while also addressing your issues for the long term.
3. Get Your Life Back and Do What You Love. The best result for us is a patient who tells us they can finally do what they love without the constant pain, stress, or issue they were facing. Together we can get you back to living life without worry.
So what do the most successful people do when they have health concerns? They address their problem.
I call it the 3 D’s Principle to handling any problem in life: 1. Don’t Ignore it, 2. Don’t Mask It, 3. Do Something About It.
NEXT ACTION: If you are really serious about your recovery start by calling 817-220-6677 today to schedule your FREE NO OBLIGATION Discovery Visit.
To your health,
Dr. Robert Moss PT, ScD, OCS. FAAOMPT