Did you know that sleep is good for you? You might be thinking well that’s obvious isn’t it? However, you might be surprised to hear that nearly 10% of the Australian adult population (that’s over 1.5 million people) suffer from some form of sleep disorder and are living with consistent, insufficient levels of sleep.
Now when you’ve come in to see us, or next time you’re in for a bodily complaint, we may have asked, or ask you about your sleeping habits. This is because as Osteos we pride ourselves on being thorough and delving into a person’s life to see what lifestyle factors could be contributing to their issue, pain or injury – it’s what makes us such awesome practitioners!
Lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation is just one important factor we explore with you when we have that initial consultation. Sleep is relevant for all types of complaints and, as Melbourne-based Osteo specialists, we feel it’s important to let you know the reasons why we want you to improve your sleep habits.
The benefits of sleep are numerous, complex and as with a lot of things to do with our amazing bodies, not yet fully understood. Some of the important benefits include:
1. It helps to achieve peak physical health. After a busy day running around after the kids, being in the gym, playing sport, or working long hours on a computer — your body needs time to recover and repair from the strains and stresses of the day. Sleep is when a lot of this recovery takes place. If you want all the hard yakka from exercising and looking after yourself to pay off, then make sure you get regular, high-quality sleep. During a deep sleep period, your body releases hormones which help your muscles to recover, strengthen and build mass. This is similar when recovering from injury. You might be asleep, but your body is still busy working away trying to put things right and keep you functioning for when you rise the next morning. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to increased rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure and stroke), kidney disease and diabetes. Being sleep deprived may also affect your immune system’s ability to fight off common colds and flus (which are in surplus during the winter months!)
2. It helps to maintain healthy brain function and mental well-being. Did you know that being well rested improves your ability to learn? And after a day of learning, a long sleep helps you to consolidate and reinforce what you have learned during the day. An example would be that you’ve been to see your Osteo and they have you performing some new stability exercises for your shoulder, or body rotation mobility exercises to help improve your golf swing …. You’ve been practicing and practicing between sessions, and because you are sleeping well, your body is more likely to adapt and remember those movement patterns better than someone who is sleep deprived. You can expect to be more focused, creative and have better problem-solving skills if you are getting good, restful sleep at night. You are also less likely to experience depression, mood swings and lack of motivation, so it’s a win-win situation!
3. It helps you to stay safe. Between the years 2013-2017, more people were killed in car accidents relating to tiredness and fatigue than those relating to alcohol and drug intoxication. But it isn’t just those on the roads who are at risk. Think about all those working in healthcare, coal mines, air flight, factories and other mechanical-related industries – fatigue is a potential killer for anyone! Even us Osteos need sleep (yes, it’s true!), so that we can safely manage our patient loads and be alert to any possible health problems that come through our door. A decent sleep allows us to be the best possible practitioner for you.
So next time you’re battling with yourself on whether to binge-watch your favourite TV series long into the night or go to bed, your local osteopaths here at Body@Boronia would highly recommend going to bed as the better option!