Whether you are a top notch athlete or someone whose idea of exercises consists of walking room-to-room, sleep is important for body recovery. It may be more important for those who are more intensely exercising, but even if you don't live an active lifestyle, your body is still experiencing wear and tear from everyday use. If you have sustained an injury, sleep is especially important for a full and faster recovery. Keep reading to find out how sleep can impact your injury and recovery.
What happens to your muscles throughout the day or during injury
Every movement we make requires muscles. From blinking to weight lifting, a muscle is involved. The more intense our movements, the higher chance we have for a muscle strain, wear or tear strain, or torn muscle/ligament or broken bone. When this happens, there is a disruption in the strength of connectivity of one or more body parts. This weakens that area, leaving it more vulnerable to further injury or permanent damage.
How sleep can help with your recovery
Sleep is important for the recovery of muscle use because of several factors. The first is blood flow. Blood is responsible for delivering oxygen, nutrients, and other essential materials to tissues and muscles. When we are in deeper levels of sleep, our blood flow is increased to these muscle and tissues, increasing the delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and any other proteins or cellular components that can assist with recovery and repair.
The second reason that sleep is important is because of the delivery of reparative hormones. These hormones include growth hormone and prolactin. Growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland, a gland in the brain responsible for the release of several types of hormones. This release is optimal during non-REM sleep like stage 3, or deep sleep. Growth hormone repairs tissues and helps with the growth and strengthening of muscles.
Prolactin is another hormone that is released during sleep and essential for a good recovery. Prolactin is an anti-inflammatory hormone. Inflammation can cause further damage and prolong an injury if allowed to build up. However, this anti-inflammatory hormone can help to reduce some of that build up.
If you do not get enough of the deeper stages of sleep, then you will not get the optimal release of these important hormones which can reduce the recovery time for both injury and strain.
How to optimize sleep for better recovery
How and where you sleep is also important for trying to recover from an injury. If you don't sleep well, then you may be further irritating injuries or minimizing your opportunities to get deep enough sleep that you recover from injuries.
Sleeping in the wrong position can affect the recovery process, as well as the type of mattress. Irritating or putting a lot of stress on pressure points will have an antagonistic effect. If you see a physician or health care provider for your injury, ask them what is the best way to sleep so that way you do not cause further damage.
If you are having trouble sleeping with or without an injury, please click the button below to take a free online sleep test.