We all need sleep for our tissues to heal and Australian scientists and pain specialists Lorimer & Moseley suggest that sleeplessness may contribute to ill health and increased sensitivity of tissues and that with not enough sleep there is not enough repair.
Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep is a fascinating read. A professor of psychology and neuroscience who has been researching the role of sleep in health and disease at University of California for many years. Evidence suggests that sleep deprivation is linked to heart disease and evidence is now pointing to an increase risk of diabetes and alzheimer’s.
It is during our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep time, the deep sleep when we dream and when our brain is devoid of stress and anxiety, that our energy consumption is lowered therefore more energy can be used to restore our tissues. Also, during sleep, more blood flow is redirected from the brain to our muscles and other tissues for restoration and repair.
If your pain is keeping you awake at night it is important to at least switch off your excitable, sympathetic nervous system for a period during the day, as this will reduce adrenaline levels, our stress, flight or fight hormone and allow your parasympathetic nervous system to flow. The parasympathetic part of our nervous system is concerned with conserving energy, aiding digestion and replenishment of our cells. So a good way to help turn that adrenaline switch off and allow tissue healing is to start taking short breaks each day for mindfulness meditation, relaxation or even yoga.
As osteopaths we want our patients to get the most out of their treatments, having enough quality sleep and periods of relaxation built into your day are key ingredients on your journey back to living a pain free and healthy life.
Most research suggests that we need 8 hours of sleep a night to recuperate and heal…..do you get 8 hours sleep?
“The shorter your sleep the shorter your life.” (Matthew Walker).