Sleep: The Secret Weapon of Recovery

Recovering from injury or surgery? Sleep is the secret weapon that plays a crucial role to get your body back in top form.

By Joe Castignani

I love to settle into the comfy recliner at the movie theater, suspend reality and enjoy watching a superhero at work. Who hasn’t occasionally dreamed of being a superhero, laden with mystical powers and secret weapons?

Believe it or not, we are all superheroes—when we sleep! During slumber, our bodies are hard at work repairing muscles and tissue while the circulatory system is rejuvenated to maintain health.

Sleep's role in maintaining healthy tissues becomes even more important after injury or surgery. Whether you’re dealing with a muscle strain from that pickup basketball game, nursing a damaged tendon, or recovering from knee surgery, sleep is the secret weapon that plays a crucial role to get your body back in top form—and getting you back on the court sooner.

How Sleep Relates to Injury Recovery

Let’s start with blood flow. During the deeper phases of sleep, blood flow increases to your muscles, bringing with it oxygen and nutrients which are necessary to repair muscles and cells and to promote healing.

Hormones play an important role, too. During sleep, there are a number of different hormones released, each with a unique purpose. Melatonin controls your sleep patterns and helps you feel drowsy. During sleep, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which helps your body to grow and repair itself. Without adequate rest, the release of these hormones declines, making it more difficult to recover and increasing the risk of further injury.

Tips for Restorative Sleep

To achieve the benefits of sleep to maintain healthy tissues and to aid in recovery, aim for 7-8 hours nightly. When recuperating from an injury, be sure to discuss the best position for sleep with your doctor to minimize the chance of further aggravating the issue. (Check into the 6-Chamber Pillow which is ideal for all sleep positions and may help support recovery.)

The Takeaway

Injured or recovering from surgery? Sleep plays a vital role in your recovery and gets you back to doing what you love.

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Dream big, work hard, sleep ambitiously,

Joe Castignani