Sleep makes up a large proportion of our lives. If we assumed that you spent 8 hours per day sleeping or trying to sleep, then sleep would account for one-third of your lifetime; to put that into perspective, that would be 27 years if you lived 81 years.
With sleep being so time-consuming, it can be enticing to sacrifice it for other areas of your life.
Why should you get enough sleep?
Inadequate sleep has been linked to an array of negative health outcomes. For instance, sleep restriction can impair executive function, sustained attention and long-term memory.1
Of particular interest is sleep’s relationship with injury and pain.
Sleep can help you to heal and to recover. In adolescents, those who persistently slept poorly were 1.58 times more likely to sustain a sports-related musculoskeletal injury than those who slept well.2 In contrast, there is currently limited research to support poor sleep as an isolated risk factor in adult athletes.3
The link between poor sleep and pain—especially persistent pain—has been well-documented and suggested to be bidirectional (poor sleep may make pain worse, but pain may make sleep worse).4,5 Insufficient or interrupted sleep may sensitise your nervous system. For example, if your low back pain should be 2/10 but you have not been sleeping well, your pain might be amplified to 4/10. Conversely, good sleep may help to desensitise your nervous system.
Does everyone need to address their sleep? Perhaps not. It may, however, be option to consider for some people.
If you need help with your sleep, then you should consult a health practitioner.
- Lowe et al. (2017) (PMID: 28757454)
- Gao et al. (2019) (PMID: 30888337)
- Dobrosielski et al. (2021) (PMID: 33560506)
- Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sleeping-in-bed-near-smartphone-4473864/
- Tags: sleep