SLEEP - why it’s so important to think about sleep. Lack of sleep can affect healing. How can you get more sleep?

We all know sleep is important. It aids in concentration, efficiency, mood and  helps us

function at our best but it also has a massive influence on our bodies healing potential. We

all know how good we feel after a couple of nights of good sleep and how that impacts so

many aspects of our lives. 

Different people need different amounts of sleep a night, the average for adults is 8.25hrs.

The demands for sleep will differ depending on age, physical activity and individual


We can’t control sleep so what can we control?

Sleep is something we can not force or control but we can influence the environment around

us and ourselves to set up the best conditions for sleep. 

Sleep problems can be caused by bad habits over many, many years. Sleep hygiene

describes habits which can help you to get a good night’s sleep. 

Ways to help you get a better night’s sleep. 

 Work with and listen to your own body clock 

o A lot of physiological processes run on a timeline and sleep is the same. Get

up at the same time every day, get into a routine, go to sleep when your body

says your tired, don’t just ignore it. Get some morning sunshine exposure to

help set your body clock.

 Make your sleeping environment comfortable

o Have your bedroom at a good temperature, dark enough, minimal noise (use

ear plugs if needed) and try and use your bedroom only for sleeping. Try not

to talk to friends, watch Tv or any brain stimulating activities that will cause an

association between activity and the bedroom.

 Avoid smoking, sleeping pills, coffee and alcohol before bed

o Nicotine contained in cigarettes is a stimulant and can accelerate heart rate

and blood pressure and delay sleep. Alcohol can help some to feel relaxed

and doze off to sleep but it can interfere with the rhythm of sleep patterns and

also wake you up when needing to pee. Sleeping pills should only be used

under medical advice and for temporary assistance sleeping, after long term

use it can make it harder to fall asleep naturally. Avoiding energising

caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee may help wind down at the end of

the day. 

 Relax your mind before bed

o If you are a worrier, try scheduling some worry time a while before bed and

then try not to worry outside of that time. 

o Try some relaxation exercises before bed, use some mindfulness before bed

 Exercise regularly but not within 2 hours before bed

 Don’t take afternoon naps

 Don’t watch the time tick by on the clock 

o Turn the clock around so you are not distracted by the time or focus on how

long it’s taking you to get to sleep

 If you can’t fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time, get up and do something with low stimulation and then get back into bed and try again

 Have a supportive bed and pillow

You cannot force sleep and we cannot control it but we can make the right conditions for

sleep both in our surrounding environment and with ourselves. 

You can get support from others to help with getting that shut eye 

If there are certain things always on your mind a GP or psychologist may be able to give you

those tools to manage the stresses which are keeping you awake. 

At Osteo for families we have seen many people who struggle to fall asleep as they are

uncomfortable or have an injury and have to adapt their sleeping posture. An osteopath may

offer ways to adjust your bed using towels or pillows to support you as you sleep or may

offer advice on pillows and beds that will support you. 

Book online and make that one less thing on

your list to worry about.

Key notes

Written by Mariella Berry

Carly BroadbentGeneral Osteo