• Brad


Sleep is fast becoming widely recognised as one of the most important factors for maintaining good health across the lifespan and has even been stated as the most important pillar of health, ahead of good nutrition and physical exercise.

Sleeping poorly has been linked to increases in all-cause mortality (which means every kind of health condition is negatively impacted by a lack of sleep!), and notably has been shown to lead to:

- Poor cardiovascular health, including higher risk of heart attack and stroke

- Development of Type II Diabetes

- Obesity

- Alzheimer’s and dementia

Aside from the scary long-term consequences of not catching enough Z’s, poor sleep has some much more immediate effects. Sleeping for 6 hours a night (or less) causes an immediate reduction in our body’s circulating immune cells, leaving us more prone to viral and other infections. When compared to a good night’s sleep, sleeping poorly has been linked to poor short-term memory retention (a decrease in memory function of up to 40%!).

Two hormones responsible for controlling hunger and satiety (called grehlin and leptin) are also present in disproportionate levels in an under-slept body, which results in poor food choices and a higher caloric consumption the day after a restless night. Number of hours spent asleep also directly correlates to physical performance and muscular recovery – so sleeping poorly will make the gym or your exercise classes feel much harder the next day.

How can a physiotherapist help with sleep?

Well, bodily aches, pains and discomfort can lead to trouble getting to sleep, or uncomfortable disruptions during the night. Getting these sorted out with your physiotherapist can help to improve the comfort and quality of your sleep.

But did you also know that your pillow & mattress have an expiry date? Pillows may lose their structural integrity after approximately 3 years of use, and your mattress after approximately 10 years. Here at Yates Physiotherapy we stock the FlexiPillow range and are educated in which types of pillows suit different sleeping postures. We also have a partnership with Regal Sleep Solutions – a ‘medical-grade’ mattress manufacturer. Have a chat to one of our physiotherapists about organising a professional mattress fitting with the team over at Regal.

If you want to learn more about sleep and the vital role it plays in our health and wellness, check out the book “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist specialising in sleep medicine.

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  • Brad

A foam roller is a tool that a Physiotherapist will often recommend for a ‘home treatment’ option. You might have seen them around the clinic or in the gym – a thick blue tube of foam. Foam rollers, spikey balls and other self-massage tools all fall under the same category, and are used for self myofascial release (or MFR). What is MFR? Myo is the Latin term referring to muscle tissue and fascia is a type of connective tissue found in our bodies between muscle layers. Myofascial release therefore refers to using pressure and massage techniques to release tension in the muscle and fascial tissues in our body!

Many people use foam rollers for self-MFR in an attempt to keep their bodies moving happily and pain-free, but what does the evidence say?

Studies show that using a foam roller may have several benefits:

- May result in short-term increases in joint range of motion, due to muscle relaxation

- May help to decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercise

- May result in an increased tolerance to pain in the local area, either on the same side or opposite side of the body.

In the past there has been some concern about the use of foam rollers negatively impacting muscle performance during sport or exercise, as the rolling may cause the muscle tissue to relax. The good news? Studies have shown no change in muscle performance during sport, despite the use of a foam roller before OR after.

The take-home message is that foam rolling can be a beneficial addition to a home stretching or mobility routine. If you’re looking to improve sports performance – foam rolling may not give you the edge that you’re hoping for! But the use of a foam roller could help you to decrease muscle soreness and improve flexibility or joint range of motion. Drop into the clinic to learn more about foam rolling from one of our physiotherapists, or to hear some of our top tips and tricks!


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  • Brad

Lately we have discussed several of the key minerals required for healthy bones and bodily function (magnesium, calcium and vitamin D). But now let’s review what else is required for healthy bones.

Many minerals are needed to support our bones, but did you know that up to 50% of our bone mass is made up of protein? We gain protein from many sources in our diet, including meat (including poultry and seafood), dairy, eggs, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds and protein supplements. Most people consume plenty of protein in their diet, but those particularly at risk of lacking adequate protein include the elderly, vegetarians/vegans and athletes.

We have previously discussed magnesium, calcium and vitamin D and they’re all highly important minerals for our bone health, but let’s move on…

Vitamin K is yet another of the big players of bone health, and its role is to increase the rate of calcium build up into the bones. It can be found in foods such as leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, beetroot leaves), broccoli, brussels sprouts, dairy, meat and chicken. As we only need a very small amount, supplementing vitamin K is usually not required and will be directed only by your medical practitioner.

Phosphorus is a mineral which works with calcium to form our physical bone tissue. Most of us consume enough of this from our diet, and it is found in dairy, meat, eggs, oily fish, potatoes, whole grains (including whole grain pasta and rice), oats, pulses and lentils.

As you will have realised, many of these minerals are found in lots of the foods we consume on an everyday basis. Eating a healthy and balanced diet full of fresh vegetables, protein, dairy and whole grains will help to support healthy bones (and a healthy body!).

Diet aside, physical exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your bone and overall health. Weight-bearing exercise will help to strengthen our bones (note: this does NOT include hydrotherapy). This type of exercise can range from walking, running, gardening, body-weight exercises (e.g. squats, push-ups), gym exercise with weights and even carrying shopping or climbing stairs.


Hannah Lewis Physiotherapist Yates Physiotherapy 0418 852 613

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