Healthy sleeping patterns can easily become compromised in a busy work and life schedule.
When suffering from musculoskeletal injury or pain (muscle or joint pain) optimising sleep is usually not one of the first things where people think to intervene in order to maximise recovery... But perhaps it should be!
Sleep is crucially important for health, cognitive function (your brain) and well-being, as well as being an integral part of how to relieve your neck pain, especially the adaptive process between your physio exercise sessions.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends that adults should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
Research shows that not following these guidelines and not getting enough sleep is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and depression. It can also lead to impaired immune function, increased pain and impaired performance. On the other hand, improved sleep quality and increased sleep duration are associated with improved physical and competitive sports performance. In addition, sleep can reduce injury risk and illness.
If so important, why are many people not getting enough sleep and not prioritising it as part of their recovery? It may be due to a lack of awareness of the importance of sleep in terms of physical health (e.g. illness and injury risk and recovery), but also cognitive function (e.g., attention and memory) and different domains of athletic performance (e.g. speed and endurance). Another part of the reason is perhaps due to a low priority relative to other life demands. In all fairness changing your sleeping patterns requires somewhat of a behavioural change, and this can be hard to carry out.
In the rest of this blog, we set forth some general evidence-based guidelines for sleep and provide you with practical recommendations and tips that you can use to improve your sleep in order to maximise this important area of your recovery. Remember, as with any behavioural intervention, be realistic in your approach and don’t just try to change everything at once. Make small changes and only take one step at a time.
Sleep is one of a number of recommendations we at Reach make when helping sufferers to find relief from their neck pain. Learn how to make the most out of the time and effort you put into getting back to your best with our Effectiveness Hierarchy of Recovery, it’s all in our blog; How to get rid of neck pain: Don’t be distracted by the shiny new fads.
Finally, just a quick disclaimer to say that Reach is not in any way affiliated with any of the products mentioned in this blog post and we will always make it clear if that is the ever the case.
1. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, et al. Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. J Clin Sleep Med. 2015 Jun 15;11(6):591–2