Optimising Injury Healing – Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important elements of injury prevention and healing.  Benefits of sleep include:


  • Improved reaction times
  • Decreased injury rates
  • Longer playing careers
  • Improved weight management
  • Decreased injury risk
  • Increased accuracy and sprint times
  • Improved mental acuity
  • Fewer mental errors
  • Improved cognitive function (attention and memory)


How does sleep affect injury healing?


  1. It directly impacts your immune system

A healthy, strong immune system is crucial to all types of healing. Without a strong immune system, you cannot properly create healthy tissue, fight infections and stay on the path to a successful recovery.  When you do not get enough sleep during the wound healing process, your immune system can become depleted, raising your risk of elongating healing time and developing infections.


  1. It slows down tissue growth

Of course, for wounds to heal successfully, healthy tissue growth is key. When does this essential growth happen? While you sleep. The growth and repair of tissue occurs in the third and fourth stages of sleep, which happen after you have completed about 70 percent of your rest. This means that getting a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep is crucial – a few naps here and there will not cut it.


  1. It can trigger and exacerbate coronary issues 

Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on the heart health. Because coronary function affects your overall well-being, this is yet another reason to prioritize your rest. Health Line noted that heart disease can be a root cause of poor circulation, which can delay or interfere with the healing process.


  1. It can compromise healthy eating habits 

When you are constantly tired, your body is seeking ways to create more energy. This can lead to cravings for sugary, fatty foods that are not good for your body, and that may further delay the healing process.  People who do not get enough sleep are also more likely to consume bigger portions, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.


How many hours a night do I need?


  • School age children (6 – 13 years): 9 – 11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 – 17 years): 8 – 10 hours
  • Adults (18 – 64 years): 7 – 9 hours
  • Older adults (65+ years): 7 – 8 years

Sleep tips:

How much sleep do YOU need?

  • Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep?
  • Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?
  • Do you have health issues such as being overweight?
  • Are you at risk for any disease?
  • Are you experiencing sleep problems?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving?

Did you know?

The amount of sleep you need on a regular basis for optimal performance is called your basal sleep need.

The accumulated sleep that’s lost from poor sleep habits, sickness, waking up in the night and other causes is known as your sleep debt.

An imbalance of the two leads to an unresolved sleep debt, which can lead to increased sleepiness and less alertness.  One or two good nights of sleep may not be enough to settle your unresolved sleep debt, so it is important to get consistent nights of decent sleep in order to make up for this.