Rest hard so you can play hard

Rest is vital to many functions of the body. It allows time for your body to repair and renew.

Regularly getting too little sleep will leave you with a weak immune system, decreased tissue repair, decreased cognitive function, decreased fat metabolism, increased inflammation, and can even increase your risk for depression, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and lesson your life span. Continual sleep deprivation causes the level of a certain stress hormone (corticosterone) to rise within the body. When the level of this hormone increases, your brain cells aren’t able to function as well. You might have a hard time concentrating or having complex thoughts. In other words, not getting enough sleep can become a very serious problem.

For my patients, sleep is absolutely essential. Sleep allows time for the body to recover from an injury. (As a side note: even when you’re awake, one of the best things you can do while recovering from an injury is to avoid using the injured area as much as possible until it has recovered and/or healed.) If you’re not giving your body time to heal itself, you’ll probably end up with more inflammation, further injury, and you’ll end up prolonging the time it takes to heal. Sleep is a vital part of recovery time.

There are a lot of factors that affect how much sleep you may need, including: diet (nutrient intake), environmental factors (smoking, drinking, etc), quality of sleep, exposure to sunlight, and current injuries or illnesses. In general, it is often recommended that most people get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and to try and go to bed and wake up at close to the same time everyday for consistency. Studies have shown that individuals that get an average of at least 8 hours of sleep each night actually have a higher percentage of lean muscle.

So here is where all this information is going – if you have an injury (even if it’s a small, seemingly insignificant one), please give your body the time it needs to heal! As soon as the injury occurs, even if it’s something like a muscle strain or an ache somewhere in your body, try to reduce the amount of activity performed by that area of the body as much as possible.

Another tip: use the PRICE method (protect, rest, ice, compress, and elevate) to reduce inflammation.

By getting enough sleep, reducing the activity level while you’re awake, and using the PRICE method, you’ll be quickly on your way to recovery – and back to doing the things you love!

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