How to Sleep Your Way to Less Pain and Injury - Movement-Rx

How to Sleep Your Way to Less Pain and Injury

What if there was an effortless way to bulletproof yourself against back pain, headaches, joint pain, and even sports injuries? 

It’s not too good to be true. And it really doesn’t take much effort.

We’re transitioning into our next monthly theme: Unlocking the Power of Sleep, where you’ll learn how you can harness the restorative powers of sleep to improve your focus, your mood, your hormonal health (sex drive!), and the way your body feels.

If you are looking to dial in your sleep for a competitive edge, register for our upcoming workshop, Change your Sleep, Change your Life! on September 7th and 8th.

But up first, sleep as a pain killer: How to Sleep your Way to Less Pain and Injury

#1. How does Sleep lead to less Pain?

Most people know that when their body is aching, their sleep isn’t going to be great because they can’t get comfortable. But the reverse is even MORE true: when you aren’t getting good sleep, your pain levels are likely to be higher the next day. This is because when you’re low on sleep, your brain turns up the signals for pain sensitivity. So if your joints normally feel stiff, after a night of poor sleep, that stiffness may be accompanied by aches and pain.

When we are low on sleep, all sorts of aches and pains can emerge: headaches, stomach aches or other gastrointestinal pains, and muscle or joint pains. Further people who have had old injuries commonly feel them flare during periods of sleep deprivation (less than 7-9 hours per night).




#2. How can more sleep reduce injuries?

Sleep helps you avoid injuries in 2 ways:

  1. Getting enough high quality sleep ensures that your muscles and tendons are able to repair themselves from the day’s stress while you slumber. When you cut this time short, your body may not be fully recovered to handle the next day’s demands. String together a few nights of insufficient sleep, and you have a recipe for an overuse injury or something like tendinitis.
  2. Getting enough sleep also helps keep a damper on phantom pains from old injuries. Let’s say you hurt your knee a few years back…every so often that knee pain might seem to flare for no reason. It’s likely that reason is sleep or systemic inflammation. Normally sleep allows your body to dampen low-level signals coming from the body, but you can start to feel the pain of old injuries again when you’re not getting enough sleep.


#3. So how can I improve sleep if I already hurt?

There are many ways to get in on the benefits of sleep even if pain is currently interrupting your sleep. One way is to improve the QUALITY of sleep that you DO get. You can do this by doing the following:

  • Get outside in the morning sunlight for 10-15 minutes to strengthen your circadian rhythm
  • Eliminate caffeine, especially anytime after 12pm
  • Get in daily moderate intensity exercise (this can be walking!)

You can also improve your sleep DURATION simply by dedicating more time to bed. Especially if you wake up often during the night, you may need extra time in bed to accumulate extra hours of snoozing. Consider giving yourself a 9-10 hour opportunity for sleep, and use any awake time to focus on your breath or meditate to further dampen pain levels.


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