Better sleep is earned, not expected! It sounds logical, but it’s worth thinking about; it’s hard to sleep well at night, when you don’t have anything to recover from. Sleep can be incredibly healing and restorative. But evidence shows that the quality of our sleep is impacted by the challenge of our day. So let’s dive in to the topic of sleep and healing.
Better sleep is earned
Getting quality sleep is essential for our overall health and wellbeing, but did you know that it also affects the healing process? Studies have shown that sleep quality affects inflammation, which is crucial for the body to heal from injuries. In cases of non-healing wounds, high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are present, and lower quality sleep is often found in those with obstructive sleep disorders.
Sleep, Activity, & Healing
If you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, consider adding exercise and strength training to your daily routine. A study of adolescents found that beginning a strength training program led to measurably improved sleep quality . Physical activity provides the body with something to recover from, leading to restorative, deep sleep.
Those who are sedentary or have very few physical demands on their day might find that it is harder to come by deep, reviving sleep. A 2022 study of adolescents found measurably improved sleep quality after beginning a strength training program .
Why does this matter? Well everyone can agree that good sleep is refreshing, impacts our mood, and helps us feel ready for a new day. Conversely, a night of bad or no sleep leaves us feeling grouchy, drained and unable to deal with stressors.
Even more importantly, sleep quality affects inflammation, and therefore healing ! Lower quality sleep is present in those with obstructive sleep disorders, and a study done on this population found higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP are known to be present in cases of non-healing wounds. When we generalize this to the body, it provides a great argument for the need to get good rest, to keep inflammation levels down, and to provide your body with the best environment possible to help heal from injuries.
How can we get better sleep?
Well according to studies, adding exercise and strength training to our days will improve sleep quality. If you want restorative, deep sleep, give your body something to recover from! Go on a long walk, begin lifting weights, add lower body resistance exercises, anything that sounds feasible for you to get in more activity.
Also consider two common hindrances to good rest: caffeine and light.
A recent report on caffeine suggests that we need between 9-13 hours of time between our last caffeinated beverage and bedtime . So if you need caffeine, make sure you stop consuming it around 12 hours before you need to go to sleep.
Put the Screens Away for Better Sleep and Healing
And our most overused source of light is the little screens we hold in front of our faces all day for socializing, banking, news, and entertainment. That’s right, our phones. By this point, we have all heard and know that the light from these LED screens are notably impacting our circadian rhythms. “Several studies have reported that smartphone ownership and use before bedtime may be associated with more self-reported sleeping problems, decreased sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset latency and poor sleep quality, and delays sleep thereby also shortening sleep duration.” .
In short, make a change! Sleep and healing are deeply connected. Sleep is so important to decreasing stress and allowing our bodies to heal. Find something today that you can tweak to begin improving the quality of your rest. For more ideas on exercises, to begin with, check out our course on Exercise! Remember that improving sleep quality is earned, not expected, but it’s worth it for the health benefits it provides.
And, if you’re in the Augusta Area and want to get started on a functional exercise & sleep program to address pain or weakness, request an appointment online!
 Blume, C., Garbazza, C. & Spitschan, M. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie 23, 147–156 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x
 Santiago, Ladyodeyse C.S.1; Lyra, Maria J.1; Germano-Soares, Antônio H.1; Lins-Filho, Ozeas L.2,3; Queiroz, Daniel R.1; Prazeres, Thaliane M.P.1; Mello, Marco T.4; Pedrosa, Rodrigo P.2,3; Falcão, Ana P.S.T.5; Santos, Marcos A.M.1,3. Effects of Strength Training on Sleep Parameters of Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 36(5):p 1222-1227, May 2022. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003629
 Yeo BSY, Koh JH, Tan BKJ, et al. Improved Inflammatory and Cardiometabolic Profile After Soft-Tissue Sleep Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022;148(9):862–869. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2022.2285
 Gardiner C, Weakley J, Burke LM, Roach GD, Sargent C, Maniar N, Townshend A, Halson SL. The effect of caffeine on subsequent sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2023 Feb 6;69:101764. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2023.101764. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36870101.