Getting Good Sleep is Vital to Your Health
By South Sound magazine staff
We all know how much better we feel after a solid night’s sleep. Yet, instead of thinking about sleep as a solid foundation to our good health, some people treat getting shut-eye like it’s a luxury for babies, retirees, and cats. They cheat themselves a solid 7-9 hours in exchange for lot of things, like doing more work, mindlessly scrolling social media, or binge watching their favorite shows on Netflix. We talked to Alika Antone, Doctor of Physical Therapy and owner of A2 Physical Therapy in Tacoma, about why getting quality sleep should be your top priority, and how to do it better.
Q. How much sleep should an average adult get every night?
A. 7-9 hours. This will vary between individuals. Most people have heard of ‘8 hours’ as an estimate, but it’s important to know that you may need closer to 7 or 9 hours to get the proper required sleep for your body. Many people don't know that you actually accumulate “sleep debt.” So, if you miss out on an hour one night, you need to “pay back” sleep with an additional hour the next night. (Sleep debt is manageable at first, but not over the long-term).
Q. When you meet with patients, are you finding that they are often sleep deprived?
A.Yes, sleep deprived, stressed, and lacking time for themselves. Which leads to nutritional and hydration deficits, salt and sugar cravings, etc. Stress promotes the release of cortisol which can trigger pain, weight gain, fatigue, and disease. The brain considers sleep debt a “stress.”
Q. Besides being tired, moody, and spending all of your extra cash at coffee shops, what can lack of sleep do?
A. Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased risk of injury and a reduced pain threshold; greater susceptibility to sickness; reduced physical and psychological performance; increased anxiety, irritability and increased body fat.
Dr. Antone’s Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep
1. First, talk to a health care professional if you think you might have a medical sleeping disorder.
2. Resolve daily dilemmas outside of the bedroom. You can try making a “worry” list to get things off of your mind.
3. Play 10 minutes of Tetris or another puzzle game to ‘reboot’ your brain, and to stop the “worry” cycle.
4. The bedroom is not an office — be wary of bringing technology to bed. Turn off screens and lights an hour or two before bedtime.
5. Establish a bedtime routine and be consistent. Try taking a hot bath or shower, read a book, or write in a journal. Listen to a relaxing app like “Calm” or try playing soft music.
6. Practice diaphragmatic breathing, and work on being more mindful/meditation daily.
7. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs to help align your spine/hips.
8. During the day get exercise — it will help alleviate anxiety, and you will sleep better later.
Good to Know
A2 Physical Therapy offers weekly mindfulness classes and daily group exercise, too. Contact us for more information.
"Before I started coming to A2 I was always tired and could barely pick up or carry my grandchildren a ½ block. After the first 6 weeks of working with Kristi I got a big surprise when I took my grandchildren to a festival and carried the youngest 4 blocks before she woke up enough to walk. I then picked her up and put her on my shoulders so she could see better without effort. I was amazed at how much strength I had gained in a short time. I continue to see improvement in my strength and I’m no longer tired all the time."
"A2 has been a game changer for me. I’ve had back problems my entire life from high impact sports and now sitting at a desk for work. Dr. Antone’s wellness program has nearly eliminated my stiffness and soreness that use to bother me throughout the day. I’d highly recommend him and his team for turning your health around. Thank you A2!!"
"I had a lot of fear after surgery, afraid that I would not regain mobility and strength. I feel that A2 helped me achieve a higher plateau of health, motion, and strength than I would’ve achieved elsewhere. Also, A2 has taught me the exercises to go even further, to strengthen and mobilize my shoulder. I fully trust A2 and will recommend them to all my friends, family, and coworkers. They have all treated both me and my wife with a gentle kindness that is rare today and have made us feel welcome in their care. Very professional, but with a sense of caring; that is how I would describe A2. I will miss them all and am very grateful to have been in their hands."