The Importance of Sleep for the Recovery Process


The Importance of Sleep for the Recovery Process

We all get busy in our lives, and we don’t like slowing down for anything.  When some of us get a cold, we work right through it, taking our stuffy noses to work with us, and maybe even to the gym.  If you’ve ever done this, you may have noticed that the cold lingered for much longer than you expected. 

Next time you get a cold, try giving yourself a whole day to lie in bed and rest.  You might be surprised by how much faster you heal when you allow yourself to get extra sleep when you most need it.  

The same is true when recovering from an injury or surgery. Although we may feel like we have to get up and get back to our lives as quickly as possible, doing so might actually hinder our body’s healing process. 

Want more information you can pass on to your boss when you need a little extra time to heal? Take a look at some of the ways sleep helps in healing and recovery. 

Sleep helps keep your immune system strong

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. During sleep, you make more white blood cells that attack viruses and bacteria. When you are in the recovery process following an accident or a major surgery, your body is working hard to heal.  If you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system may become compromised and have trouble fighting common infections. And that’s the last thing you need while you’re healing.  

Sleep helps replenish your energy

When we hear the word “energy,” we often think about calories, and yes, calories do provide some of the energy we need to function.  But the energy we need to heal cannot be replenished with food – it requires sleep. A study was done on college students who had paper cuts.  One group was allowed to sleep through the night. The other group was prevented from reaching the deepest level of sleep (phase 4). The paper cuts healed for the group that slept, but not for the group that didn’t get deep sleep. 

Sleep supports tissue growth and regeneration

As you sleep, your brain triggers the release of hormones. Stage 3 slow-wave sleep in particular has been associated with increased levels of growth hormone, which aids in tissue repair and regeneration. When you’re in the recovery process, following a surgery, for example, this is especially important.   

Sleep helps protect you from other conditions

While you sleep, your blood pressure dips, which gives your heart a rest and lowers your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Sleep also levels your hunger hormones. Fatigue often causes people to overeat, and over time, this can increase the risk factor for obesity. Also, the body’s reaction to sleep deprivation resembles insulin resistance, and this could lead to a pre-diabetic state. 

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health even when you’re not healing from injury or illness.  It becomes doubly important when you are. 

How we can help

At Bella Vista Health Center, we can be your home away from home while you’re in the recovery process from an injury or a major surgery.  We provide professional, compassionate skilled nursing care as well as physical and occupational therapy and other therapeutic services that can help rehabilitate you back to yourself.  Your meals will be provided for you, and your only responsibility will be to heal and get stronger. We’ll do the rest.

Call or come by our facility in Lemon Grove, and let’s talk about how we can be of service to you.