If you’ve ever broken a bone or had a serious surgery, you know that a doctor’s prescription will often include intensive bed rest. While this sounds like the easiest advice in the world to take, the reality is usually the opposite.
As it turns out, being confined to your bed (or couch) for a long period of time can start to feel like its own sort of fluffy prison, and the last thing you end up feeling is rested. Spending all day lying down can turn into too much of a good thing, leaving you itching for activity and the outdoors. Add to this the discomfort resulting from your wound, and you’ve got the perfect formula for restlessness and a bad night’s sleep.
However, it’s important not to get discouraged and just give up on getting the sleep that you need, as getting the right amount of sleep is extremely important for your recovery. When you get a full night’s sleep, one of the stages your sleep proceeds through is deep sleep. When you are in deep sleep, your body is signaled to secrete growth hormones, which work to vigorously repair damaged tissue in your body, as well as prevent further breakdown.
The trick to this is that it has to be a full night’s sleep, which can be hard to come by when you’re tossing and turning due to discomfort from an injury or going through the process of healing up from surgery.
Here are a couple tips to help you fight this sleeplessness and get better faster:
Light and dark cues
Keeping up your sleep hygiene is very important when you’re going through this process, but perhaps the most important part of these steps to follow while you’re laid up is making sure to be exposed to the proper light and dark cues. Your circadian rhythm thrives off of getting the right signals from your environment in order to know when it should keep you awake and alert, and when it should initiate the sleep process.
Being stuck inside the house means this aspect of sleep hygiene might be something you leave to the wayside without thinking about it. You should make sure that even if it just means sitting near a window in the morning, and cutting off the lights come nighttime, you’re following the pattern of the sun. This will help your sleep set in just as it’s supposed to, instead of being thrown off schedule, keeping you up into the night.
A smarter bed
If the recovery from your surgery or injury is something that will keep you off of your feet for an extended period of time (longer than a couple of months), you might want to consider investing in an adjustable base for your mattress. When we’re healing from an injury, the old positions we were used to sleeping in can seem impossible to sleep in now. With an adjustable base, you’re better able to find different settings and arrangements for your mattress that will hit the peak comfort level for you.
Talk to a professional
If you are experiencing substantial amounts of sleeplessness, make sure to consult your doctor immediately, as they may have more specific guidance that will help you sleep better during your recuperation. If you believe the medicine prescribed to you is having an adverse effect on your sleep, this is also a great time to bring up your concerns.
The condition in which we sleep can’t always be perfect, but we just have to remember to keep sleep a high priority in our lives, and continue making an effort to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep provides countless benefits to us—most importantly repairing and rejuvenating your body—getting you out of bed and active again sooner.