The Power of Sleep in Healing
Although meteorologists tell us that we’ve had a warmer winter than normal, it feels like we’ve endured our fair share of polar vortexes this year. Thankfully, as we gather with friends and family, our health stories are less about COVID-19, but more about the usual slips and falls that accompany icy conditions.
In fact, injuries at this time are quite common. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), there are almost 10,000 slips and falls in Canada each year during winter, whether it’s slipping on an icy sidewalk, or twisting an ankle skating. Older adults are particularly affected, with seniors accounted for more than half of all injury-related hospitalizations among Canadians. And, women made up almost two-thirds of seniors’ hospitalizations.
In this article, we will explore the ways in which good sleep helps the body heal.
Dealing with Injury
If you’ve had a serious injury before you’ll know that it is not only disruptive to your body, but also to your mental well-being. And, if you’re a parent, caregiver or working as part of a team, the injury can be disruptive to the people around you. So a rapid recovery is not only important for physical health, but also for your mental health and your relationships.
Sleep plays a vital role in the healing process. It is a time when the body can rest and repair itself.
Physiological Healing Processes During Sleep
During sleep, several important physiological processes occur that are critical for healing. One of the most important of these processes is the release of hormones that promote growth and repair. While your pituitary gland releases growth hormone in pulses throughout the day and night, the peaks occur at night during sleep. Growth hormone helps repair damaged tissue and build muscle, both of which are important during the rehab and pre-rehab periods of healing to prevent atrophied muscles.
Growth hormone play an additional role: A 2010 study by sleep experts at the University of Tubingen, Germany discovered that improved sleep enhances the production of a special immunity-enhancing protein. While you’re sleeping, cells in your immune system release a type protein called cytokines. A cytokine called interleukin-12 (IL-12) peaks during the nocturnal period of sleep and significantly helps to reduce inflammation and infection.
Without enough quality sleep our bodies will not produce the optimal number of hormones and proteins needed to support the body’s natural healing processes.
Optimize Your Healing
In addition to getting adequate sleep, using the right sleep accessories – like an adjustable bed, cold therapy icepacks, or a pressure-relieving pillow – can reduce pain and support the body’s healing processes.
Hot and cold therapy is one of the simplest, yet effective tools in recovery. Try the Ice-It cold therapy range of products to provide relief to specific areas of your body. Each holster is specially-designed to mould around a different joint – like your knee or shoulder. The non-toxic fill reaches freezing temperature quickly, and the velcro straps allow you to customize the level of compression.
Elevation is the next more important tool you can use. In this respect, adjustable beds are terrific solutions as they allow you to rest and elevate your body in a variety of positions. Elevating both the head and legs, often called the zero-gravity position, helps to reduce swelling and promote circulation. The PosturePlus 4.5 Adjustable Base is an economical option that also has a therapeutic massage function. For the ultimate in customization, the Supreme Adjustable Base has 5 different motors to adjust your body into the most comfortable position to relieve pain.
The right pillow can also be vital in the body’s healing process. A pillow that supports the neck and head properly will help to reduce tension in the shoulders and promote better spinal alignment. The Blu Vitality pillow is perfect for side sleepers, as its ergonomically designed curved shape relieves pressure on the shoulder.
However, optimizing our body’s physiological processes isn’t the only the health area we should monitor. A serious injury can cause depression and anxiety for a range of reasons: Reduced mobility can often stop us from doing the things that raise our spirits, whether it’s our regular exercise routine, or socializing with friends and family.
To increase your mobility, try the stunning Krystal Walking Canes. If you need a little more stability and a temporary seat to rest occasionally, the Let’s Move Rollator from Trust Care, is a high-quality, light-weight walking aid with wheels.
The fact is that recovering from a physical injury isn’t easy. Sleep is an essential component of the recovery process. It is a time when the body can repair and restore itself, supporting the immune system, reducing stress and inflammation, and promoting mental well-being. Make sleep a priority to support your body’s natural healing processes, and to keep yourself positive.
To learn more about how to optimize your sleep for a faster recovery, speak to the sleep experts at Ultramatic. Schedule a free consultation by calling 1-866-455-6421; emailing [email protected]; or by visiting their showrooms in Toronto / Mississauga / Oakville.
Plus, CARP members receive special savings:
- 25% OFF All Sleep Accessories (like Pillows and Sheets) ($100 minimum purchase)
- $100-$500 OFF Adjustable Bases, Mattresses, or Walk-in Bathtubs