Sleep: The Crucial Ingredient

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As a physiotherapist our patients often ask us how they could have avoided the injury that has landed them in our office.

Injury prevention is a growing trend and research behind it is also gaining ground.  Instead of picking up the pieces at the bottom of the cliff, if we can advise athletes or individuals of changes they can make that will reduce their risk of injury then the payoff is significant.

One of the less talked about factors shown to have an effect on injury rates is sleep.

In recent studies it was found that juvenile athletes were 1.7 times more likely to sustain an injury if they got less than 8 hours sleep compared to those that got 8 or more hours per night. This became even more evident as the athletes got older, with latter years in high school being more affected by lack of sleep.

X10Even for the best athletes in the world competing at the upcoming Rio Olympics, sleep is a massive factor that can determine whether or not they stand on the podium or not.

During sleep our body goes into ‘rest and digest’ mode.  It is at this point that your body works tirelessly at muscle repair, memory consolidation, hormonal regulation and much more.

Sleep helps to regulate cortisol, broadly described as a ‘stress hormone’ (be it mental, physical or otherwise). Without cortisol regulation, physical stress placed on the body during sport or activity may tip the scale too far, contributing to a poor movement pattern that may result in injury.

Although a busy lifestyle, long work hours, young children and an early gym class are all hard things to juggle – the value of going to bed that little bit earlier every now and then is significant. So switch off the TV and devices and try get a bit of extra kip this month.

AUT Millennium members receive priority booking and a discount on all physiotherapy treatments and musculoskeletal screening, so make sure to mention that when you book!

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