Now the juicy bit that you are here for!
Sleep, injury, and illness
Studies have shown that those who slept less than 8 hours per night were 70% more likely to get an injury compared to those who slept more than 8 hours! (Milewski et al, 2014 ; Watson,
THAT IS ABSOLUTELY HUGE!!
It is also well documented that an increased risk of injury occurs when training load increases and sleep duration reduces simultaneously – this is often seen in competitive travel and training camps (von Rosen etal, 2017) and is really important information for performers who often are away from home for weeks on end doing huge corporate gigs late into the evening.
Interestingly, lots of research has also been carried out on sleep deprivation and illness:
- When suffering with the common cold, those who slept for less than 7 hours over a 5
day period were 3 times more likely to develop an infection compared to those who
slept for 8 hours.
- Those who slept for less than 5 hours over a 7 day period and has complaints of a common cold were 4.5 times more likely to develop an infection (Prather et al, 2015)
When you sleep, you’re giving your body time to repair and recover from the day’s activities. The first reason relates to blood flow. As you fall into the deeper stages of sleep, your muscles will see an increase in blood flow, which brings along oxygen and nutrients that help recover and repair muscles a regenerate cells.
Hormones pay a role too. When the body enters its deep sleep stage, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones that stimulate muscle repair and growth. When the body doesn’t get enough rest, the secretion of this growth hormone declines, and it can become harder for your body to recover from injury. The hormone prolactin, which helps regulate inflammation is also released while sleeping, meaning that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re likely to have more inflammation in the body. (Gunning, 2001 ; Nadler et al, 2003 ; Basta et al, 2007).
We know that when we are unwell, generally we naturally tend to sleep more to allow the body
more time to recover from our illnesses, but we don’t consider this if we sustain an injury??
Is this something that should be considered more?