Rest and Repair
Lack of sleep results in decreased immune function, increased potential for disease (heart disease, stroke, cancer), decreased hormone production (human growth hormone), decreased tissue repair, decreased cognitive function, decreased fat metabolism, depression, increased inflammation, and even decreased life span.
Some very interesting research has come out of the National Academy of Science about the effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation causes an elevated level of the stress hormone, corticosterone. Increased levels of this hormone causes a reduction in the function of brain cells.
This in turn has been directly related to problems in concentration and other possible cognitive issues. A little sad, but lack of sleep may even reduce cognitive function so much that you don’t even realize there is a problem.
We have found that our patients’ lack of rest and sleep is one of the primary reasons for a slow or delayed recovery from an injury. Avoid over-using an injured area before it is recovered as that can cause further injury, more inflammation, and increased healing time.
How much sleep you require will vary based on several factors, including your diet (good diet, bad diet), environmental factors (smoking, drinking), quality of sleep, genetics, and current injuries. Even the quality of light that you are exposed to will affect the amount of sleep you need (spending a long time in front of your computer disrupts your circadian rhythm). In general terms we recommend at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Reducing sleep by as little as one-and-a-half hours for just one night reduces daytime alertness by about one-third. Bottom line: without proper sleep, your body will not repair itself, you decrease the overall quality of your life, and you may even decrease your life span.
So, immediately after an acute injury, reduce the activity performed by that structure, do NOT perform weight-bearing exercises that can stress that area, DO apply Cold Therapy, rest that structure, and keep it elevated to reduce inflammation.
By doing these simple steps, you provide your body with a critical element needed for self-healing…REST!