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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Physical Therapy Month - Sleeping Hygiene

by Brittney Skarlupka, PT, DPT; Health In Motion

October is Physical Therapy Month! This month is when we focus on all of the hard work and effort within the Physical Therapy profession around the United States to advance our ability to care for our patients!

Physical Therapy provides injury recovery as well as injury and illness prevention. If you have any kind of pain or movement issues, stop in to see a Physical Therapist as they may be able to help you more than you realize! Nearly every part of the body can benefit from Physical Therapy. When your body is in pain, it can affect how you sleep, which in turn leaves us with a lack of focus, grogginess throughout the day and being more prone to getting sick.

Sleep Hygiene

We need sleep to keep our bodies and minds healthy, as this is a time to recharge and rejuvenate. Good sleep allows us to concentrate better, stay more alert, and help our bodies fight disease. What is less known than the importance of sleep, is the importance of our sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the practice of having a routine conducive to sleeping. There are 14 tips, some simple and some a bit more challenging, which can be taken to help improve your sleep hygiene.

  1. Set a bedtime—the more hours of sleep you get prior to midnight, the better.

  2. 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime, stay off your phone, computer and TV—these screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

  3. Avoid drinking large amounts of water prior to going to bed.

  4. Your bedroom should be dark and cool—cave dark. No night lights, phone lights, even alarm clock lights can affect your sleep. (Again, these lights can disrupt your circadian rhythm.)

  5. No kids and no animals in bed.

  6. The bedroom is only for 2 things: sleeping and sex - don’t read in bed, do work in bed, or scroll the internet in bed. Remember Pavlov’s dogs? We want your body to associate the bedroom only with those things.

  7. Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed so you can write down any thoughts that you fear you may forget by morning.

  8. Relax, breath, stretch, read in the hour leading up to bedtime (but remember, don’t do these activities IN bed.)

  9. Avoid checking your email or text messages right before bed, this will only keep your mind wandering.

  10. If you can’t fall asleep right away, try to focus on relaxing rather than falling asleep OR if you’re getting frustrated, get out of bed to do something relaxing. You don’t want your mind to associate your bed with frustration.

  11. Have a set wake-up time—our bodies love routine!

  12. Limit your caffeine intake, especially later in the day.

  13. If you must take a nap, keep it shorter than 20 minutes

  14. Exercise. The best exercise is the exercise that you’ll actually do—find something you enjoy! Whether its walking or biking or swimming, playing pickleball or volleyball or yoga, the benefits of movement are plentiful!

It is unlikely that making every one of these changes would be a realistic goal for anyone. Choose one to two items on the list that seem like they might be simple changes to make and see how they change your sleeping pattern. Once you are in a good rhythm, try adding another one of these steps to your bedtime routine. Sleep can affect our emotional, psychological and physical well-being. Don’t delay, now is the time for a healthier—and more rested—you!

If you are would like to relieve your muscle, joint, bone or nerve pain, the team at Health In Motion would love to help you! Ask to come in for a complimentary 15 minute consultation to determine if Physical Therapy would be beneficial to you. They accept most insurances and also offer cash based options. With 8 locations in Wisconsin, including Antigo, Merrill, Wausau and Marshfield, they are here to help you feel better as quickly as possible!

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