by Bre Reyes, MRSC, ATC & Ashley Shoemaker, MHA, ATC

Feeling groggy? Well, wake up and stay alert as you follow along with these ghouls and goblins… Oops, we mean tricks and treats about how to get better sleep. There are a lot of frightening myths surrounding sleep, and we can’t be scared that you’ll believe them! Let’s dispel some of the spookier ones we hear most often.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

To function properly your body needs adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of problems like irritability and lack of communication. This also increases your risk of having chronic conditions such as: depression, digestive issues, fertility issues, heart disease, and more. Lack of sleep increases your ability to become distracted, your memory declines, and your performance takes a hit. Sleep deprivation increases the chances of an accident at work by 70%. If that isn’t scary enough, according to OSHA, lack of sleep results in a $136.4 billion YEARLY productivity loss. To put it mildly (or perhaps to scare you): if you don’t sleep, you may put yourself in an early grave.

I’ll Catch Up On Sleep Later

Despite what people think, you cannot catch up on sleep. As was mentioned in last week’s blog, one night of sleep deprivation can affect your normal body function for up to two weeks. In fact, lack of sleep can compound on itself, 4 days of less than 7 hours of sleep equates to 1 full night sleep loss. Attempting to catch up on sleep later, can have devastating consequences. 22 hours of sleep deprivation is equivalent to .08% blood alcohol level (the limit for legal intoxication). Due to this, driving is a huge risk; 1 in 5 fatal vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver.

I Need Less Sleep Since I’m Older

All adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night regardless of age. If they do not get enough sleep, all of the same consequences remain. Sometimes this may even worsen conditions elders already have. For instance, if someone has early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, lack of sleep can worsen those memory problems.

Fall Back With DST

With Daylight Saving Time approaching on November 5th, you might ask, How does Daylight Savings Time affect the body? The body has its own time-keeping mechanism which regulates sleep and metabolism. The time shift will disrupt sleep and circadian rhythms. This change can take 5-7 days to transition the circadian and sleep rhythms.

Here are some treats to keep you from turning into the Headless Horseman around Daylight Saving Time.

DST Treats

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep on the day prior and after DST
  • Keep your sleep schedule as close to normal as possible
  • Practice good habits before bedtime
    • No caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime & avoid alcohol
    • Avoid workouts within 4 hours of bedtime
    • Avoid electronics before bed
  • Keep dinnertime consistent
    • Eat dinner at the normal or earlier than normal time for a couple days before
    • Do not overeat
  • Eat food higher in protein than in carbs
  • Get more light
    • To help regulate your “internal clock” go outside and get exposure to sunlight
    • Use a light therapy box or alarm light that brightens as you wake up
  • Take short naps (no more than 20 minutes)

Bre Reyes, MRSC, ATC || Bre Reyes has been a certified athletic trainer since 2013. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of West Florida (Pensacola, FL) before receiving her Master’s in Rehab Sciences at California University of Pennsylvania (California, PA). In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her dogs, crafting epoxy cups and pens, and pretty much anything outdoors

Ashley Shoemaker, MHA, ATC || Ashley has been working in the sports medicine industry for 8 years. With an undergraduate degree from Mount St. Joseph University (Cincinnati, OH) and graduate degree from Franklin University (Columbus, OH), Ashley enjoys watching sports, hanging out with her husband, family, and friends, and spending time with her two fur babies, Duke and Zeus.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!