How Sleep Deprivation Is Related To Injury
Injuries happen to us all, even when we take as much care as we possibly can. However, when someone is suffering from sleep deprivation, they are going to happen a lot more frequently and be much harder to recover from. Sleep is one of the most important things you can prioritize to be as happy, healthy, and fit as you can.
Would you have guessed that people who aren’t getting quality sleep are prone to making riskier decisions?
People who haven’t slept well are going to have a much harder time making good decisions. They are more likely to think something will go well when they haven’t thought through all of the possible risks of a situation. When it comes to exercise, that makes it much more likely that you’ll get injured. You might decide to take on more weight than you can handle or without a spotter, or perhaps continue to exercise despite acute pain, or if you’re an athlete, take a risk while engaged in your sport that you normally wouldn’t.
Sleep deprivation can also increase the likelihood of infections. The human body does most of its work to help itself heal from injuries, diseases, and infections while it is unconscious. When you don’t sleep well, you are going to have a much harder time fighting off diseases and infections that might come your way, making you feel a lot worse in general.
Healing from any injury or illness will be a lot harder when you aren’t sleeping well. Because you are more likely to injure yourself and more likely to fall prey to illnesses and infections, it’s going to take you a lot longer to heal. This will also give you even more opportunities to re-injure yourself, putting additional strain on waking hours.
Humans need to sleep about one-third of the time to stay healthy. It is essential for both the regeneration of the body and psychological health. Stress and sleep have a dual-sided connection, meaning higher stress disturbs sleep, and a lower amount of sleep increases the risk of stress and anxiety.
The human body can tolerate sleep deficiency to some extent. However, continual sleep deprivation results in the activation of various defensive mechanisms, necessary to maintain homeostasis. If these mechanisms fail, insomnia may happen.
How Can You Improve Your Sleep?
In good news for us all, improving your sleep is just like improving your exercise routine. Small changes make a big impact. It can be as simple as changing when you take a medication or avoiding foods that might create problems.
Here are some changes you can make to your life to make you sleep easier.
Are You Devoting Enough Time to Sleep?
If you have to commit to one change for improving your sleep wake up at the same time every day, 7 days per week (if that’s a deal-breaker on weekends, at least make it within an hour). Waking up at the same time every day stabilizes and strengthens your circadian rhythm so that your body knows not only the time when you are supposed to awaken but also the time you are supposed to fall asleep.
Getting lots of light when awakening and during the daytime is critical for a robust circadian rhythm. If you aren’t getting enough light during the day, you may consider light therapy.
Additionally, this stable wake time ensures you build up enough sleep hunger (homeostatic sleep drive) so your body is ready for bed at your desired bedtime. A common downward spiral we see is sleeping poorly becoming sleep-in to catch more zzzs becoming trying to go to bed early the next night (when your body isn’t biologically ready for sleep) becomes getting frustrated which becomes sleeping poorly again…over and over and over again. Getting up at the same time each day to leverage your circadian rhythm and homeostatic sleep drive really gets you “more bang for your buck” during the time you devote to sleep.”
Also by setting a strict bedtime for yourself, you can ensure that you leave yourself enough time to actually get enough sleep to feel rested in the morning. Getting into a comfortable bed at the same time every day will also help you to establish a routine that will help you to sleep better in the long term.
Are You Sleeping in the Best Environment?
Cool, dark, & quiet (smartphone on do not disturb-even vibration sounds can disrupt sleep). The bedroom environment is for sleep. Fans are great for white noise and cooling since a room temp in the high 60s is ideal in your bedroom. Humans are highly conditioned, so if you start doing other things in bed like ruminating on the day, watching Netflix, working, or scrolling, you will associate the bed with other things than sleep. If you are lying in bed struggling to sleep, get up and do something relaxing in another dimly lit room.
Also, take a look at the condition and quality of your mattress. If you’re waking up with aches and pains, then your mattress may be the thing that is keeping you from much-needed rest.
Are You Napping Too Much?
Restless sleep makes you want to nap during the day, but it may be just what’s keeping you from catching your night Zs. Naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is so necessary for easy sleep onset. Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep per 24-hour period. We need that amount, and we don’t need more than that. When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night – which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep and may lead to insomnia. Some recent data shows that if you nap, it should be less than 7 minutes.
Do You Have a Wind Down Routine Before Bed?
You can’t go from sixty to zero, a wind-down routine helps to cue your body that it’s time for sleep. But you need more than just a bedtime skin regimen or book reading ritual. Start dimming the lights within 4 hours of sleep onset. Light during this window of time (particularly blue spectrum light that your backlit electronic screens are enriched in) can push the internal clock later, making it hard to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, and harder to wake up in the morning.
If you are a night owl, you can try amber-colored blue-blocking lenses (blue spectrum lights are everywhere, given LED lighting).
Are You Doing Heavy Exercise in the Evening?
You and your clients should both avoid doing any sort of heavy exercise in the evening in order to keep the adrenaline and endorphins from keeping you up at night. If your heart is racing, you won’t be able to fall asleep quickly or sleep well once you do.
Are You Working with a Sleep Coach or Specialist?
If you are struggling with an injury or sleeplessness, you can seek out a sleep coach. There might be a bigger health problem making it difficult for you to heal and function on a day-to-day basis, and they will be able to help you rule those medical problems out. They might also be able to identify other areas of your life that you need to improve on in order to be your best self.
How Can You Learn More About the Science of Sleep?
Every client you will ever coach wants to improve their sleep. They always want more sleep. About 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems. Lack of sleep is a huge epidemic, for your clients and maybe even for you.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgment, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.