How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Tips to Help You Sleep Better

We had a patient ask us if we had any ideas to help people sleep better.   You bet!  Proper sleep has a major impact on recovery and performance.  In fact, a recent Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine study showed that young athletes are more prone to injury if they don’t get proper rest.  This isn’t just about athletes though – we have people come to SSOR on almost a daily basis who’s pain fluctuates because of lack of sleep alone.   We won’t go into the physiology of sleep because we’ll put you to sleep talking about it!  Here’s a list of things we tell people to do to help get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep Hygiene

  • Set a time to go to bed, and no… 1 AM is not an option.
  • Lights, TV and computer off. One hour prior to bed time, quiet the house down.
  • No large volumes of water prior to going to bed to avoid going to the bathroom a lot.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages to early evening; it makes you go to the bathroom as well.
  • Keep bedroom dark and cool.
  • No kids or animals in bed.
  • Park your ideas – put a notepad and pen next to your bed and write all last-minute thoughts down (pay bills, call Sally) – so the brain can let it go and sleep.
  • In the hour prior to sleep: relax, breathe, stretch, meditate and read.
  • No checking e-mails prior to bed as it will keep your brain going.
  • Turn lights off when going to bed. If you cannot sleep, close your eyes and relax until you finally fall asleep. Studies have shown this quiet time translates to sleep soon, and there’s another extra hour every night.
  • Have a set wake-up time. As with going to bed, if you wake up, stay in bed and relax with your eyes closed. This too will translate to sleep.
  • Keep caffeine to a minimum, especially in late afternoons and evenings.
  • No naps. Yes – this may make you throw something at your computer screen, but naps mess up evening sleep patterns. If you want a nap – quick cat naps of no more than 20 minutes refresh, but do not mess up the night sleep rhythm.
  • Exercise such as aerobic exercise (walking) helps reduce stress chemicals in the body and this will help you sleep better.
  • Medicine should be taken per your doctor’s advice.

We hope this list affirms what you are already doing or gives you a few ideas to sleep better.  Like we said, sleep has a major impact on pain and recovery.  Both are things that the physical therapists at SSOR are experts at helping improve for you.   Give us a call, (913) 904-1128.  It would be a privilege to help you feel better.