Underestimated to say the least, we work hard, train hard – why not ‘sleep hard’?
Quality sleep is important to not only recharge our batteries but plays a vital role in tissue repair from injuries and aids rehabilitation. It’s a misnomer that more treatment equals faster healing.
Its true our bodies possess a fantastic ‘in built self healing mechanism’ which osteopaths can help to facilitate should this break down. However, time is also a healer and quality recovery with downtime from maintaining factors in some injuries can also be essential.
What happens when we’re asleep?
Sleep architecture follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep throughout a typical night in a cycle that repeats itself about every 90 minutes.
NREM (75% of night)
As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep, composed of stages which essentially head towards REM gradually relaxing all body systems that don’t need to be operating at such a level that is required in the working day.
- Blood pressure/breathing rate/body temperature etc all begin to lower.
- Blood supply to muscles increase and hormones such as growth hormone (essential for growth and development and muscle development) are released.
- White blood cells are released which aids fighting infection and boosting your immune system.
REM (25% of night)
First occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night.
- Provides energy to brain and body
- Supports daytime performance
- Brain is active and dreams occur , eyes dart back and forth
- Body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off
It’s not just tissue repair that goes on when you’re asleep. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people ate an average of nearly 300 fewer calories per day when they were well-rested.
“We’re discovering that a part of the brain that controls sleep also plays a role in appetite and metabolism”.
Your body makes more Ghrelin and less Leptin. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone, and Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’re full.
Clinical relevance: If we are in pain and unable to sleep, our repair process struggles and lack of sleep begins to run us down mentally and emotionally!