SLEEP & OUR HEALTH
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
- 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.