Sleep deprivation. It has become a problem of ‘epidemic’ proportions in the United States with the CDC reporting numbers of 50-70 billion adults being affected with some type of sleep disorder depriving them of proper sleep. The numbers are alarming and seem to be growing to epidemic levels. Why? There are a number of opinions in the health field that recognize everything from the baby boomers reaching ages where sleep patterns change to the fact that we are now inundated with so much technology that our brains often overload with light sensory that confuses our body so that it is unsure when it’s time to sleep. The frightening fact is that it is no longer an issue with just adults either. We are seeing more and more people from the younger generations being affected as well. Being deprived of sleep can lead to many health issues and is nothing to take lightly. That is why March 2-9th this year is National Sleep Awareness Week.
What Can Physical Therapy Do to Help With Sleep Deprivation?
Live Your Life Physical Therapy (LYLPT) can offer a multitude of solutions, including working with you one-on-one to get your endorphins flowing and your body moving. Of course if you’re having problems sleeping you have to figure out why. You can often come to your own conclusions or sometimes opt for testing to determine problems such as sleep apnea or other medical conditions that could be contributing to your constant feeling of tiredness. However, many times you can make changes in your lifestyle that can make a world of difference and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go when you wake up each day. Here are a few suggestions to help you sleep better, including some options that physical therapy from LYLPT can help with:
- Have an active lifestyle – No matter what age, you can obtain an active lifestyle that is adjusted to your abilities or disabilities. LYLPT specializes in providing a way for you to move from sedentary to active gradually and without fear; since we come to you and provide one-on-one supervision. We will create a program created specifically for you. We stand out among our peers because we actually come to you, no matter where you want to begin your workouts, and create a well-researched and specialized program geared towards getting you moving safely.
- Sleep in a slightly cool bedroom – From television documentaries to health magazines the issue of sleep deprivation has been a hot topic. One common factor these shows and articles have is suggesting to sleep in a cool bedroom, with minimal blankets. As a matter of fact they highly recommended sleeping with just a sheet instead of a comforter and heavy blanket. While living in Minnesota can often leave for very cold nights I think it’s safe to say a cooler room with cooler surroundings would be best; while still allowing for the use of a blanket or comforter to stay warm. Seniors have to be especially careful not to keep their thermostats too cold as they could have repercussions from lowered body temperatures. So sleep cool but with caution & safety kept in mind; using common sense to know when you truly do need to make sure you are warm enough. You should never feel cold or shiver.
- Avoid nicotine, excessive alcohol, and caffeine – All of these products are not only unhealthy for you as a lifestyle itself, but can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Often it’s not a matter of falling asleep as much as it is the type of sleep you are getting. You need to fall into a deep sleep to feel fully rested. Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine can impede your ability to fall into a deep and full sleep that you need in order to feel fully rested.
- Handle aches & pains that may be keeping you up – Many people suffer from chronic pain when they don’t have to. LYLPT specializes in pain management and we can help rid your life of pain. Through evidenced-based treatment interventions we can treat your pain. We provide education on how to manage and prevent future pain. Being able to lie down and fall asleep without pain will change your world and how you feel after a good night’s sleep!
- Know the side affects of your medications – Some medications can actually impede a good night’s sleep. Make sure you know and understand the side affects of all medications you are taking and be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the combination of medications you may be on. Often, something as smiple as a change in when you take a medication or how you take it with other medications you are on can actually help or hinder your ability to sleep well.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
On average 7-9 hours of sleep is what is recommended; however, as we age the number of hours we require actually gets higher while our ability to obtain a good, deep sleep can become harder and harder for us to acquire due to changes in our body. Again, something as simple as adding daily activity or even minimal activity to our lifestyle can make a huge difference. It’s not always the number of hours we sleep either. Quite often you can be sleeping 8 hours and wake up feeling tired; this is because of your inability to fall into a deep enough sleep that you obtain what is referred to as a deep REM sleep. Often people who suffer from sleep apnea, chronic pain, over use of alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle can fall asleep and have issues with waking up often in the middle of sleep or simply being unable to obtain a deep enough sleep, long enough to feel rested.
Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk. Sleep deprivation can cause memory problems, concentration problems, unplanned/unexpected sudden nodding off to sleep (often while driving or throughout the day), create psychological side affects such as hallucination or anger issues and so much more. If you’re not getting sleep, call us today and let us help. We want you to Live Your Life Rested & Safe!
Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Active,
Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Live Your Live Physical Therapy, LLC