Sleep and proper nutrition are two of the largest day-to-day contributions to overall health and wellness. Physical activity and stress levels also make an impactful contribution to our overall health. This blog will discuss utilizing sleep and proper nutrition to help aid in performance recovery, pain reduction, mental recovery, and tissue healing.
Sleep is essential to our health as humans because it is a therapeutic activity. Numerous biological functions occur while sleeping, including, but not limited to memory functions, emotional regulation, metabolic functions and energy balance, tissue healing and immune response, healthy weight regulation, appetite and craving control, muscle protein synthesis response, pain control, and inflammatory response.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 When we are deprived of sleep, these processes are hindered. Sleep recommendations for adults are usually in the 7–9-hour range, but factors like alcohol and specific ailments can prevent the restful sleep needed for that 7-9 hours to be productive.10 If sleep is interrupted, the sleep stages are also interrupted, and thus hindering the positive effect they have on the body.11
To improve our health through sleep, we need to maximize what it has to offer, and we can do this by improving our sleep hygiene.12 The following is a quick list of effective sleep hygiene measures. For a more comprehensive list, please click here.
Nutrition also plays a significant role in helping restore your body daily, from your daily activities or exercise bouts. You need the building blocks necessary for tissue repair (from protein) and proper hormone regulation (from micronutrients and healthy fats). There are many practical guides on nutrition you can find online, but it is generally recommended to have a healthy balance of foods, mostly single ingredient (i.e., animal protein, fruits and veggies, grains, starches, etc.), which are sustainable to support your goals. Focusing on restoration, the following research-backed framework, known as the 4 R’s, will help.
As you can see, sleep and proper nutrition are vital for restoring your body. Along with practicing healthy exercise habits, you now have a solid framework to help improve your health and wellness restoration.
If you’re looking to get started with an exercise program to help improve your health, physical therapy is a great place to start. Schedule a Free Assessment at your local Athletico today. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Abel T, Havekes R, Saletin JM, Walker MP. Sleep, plasticity and memory from molecules to whole-brain networks. Curr Biol. 2013 Sep 9;23(17):R774-88. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.025. PMID: 24028961; PMCID: PMC4263505.
2. Tononi G, Cirelli C. Sleep and the price of plasticity: from synaptic and cellular homeostasis to memory consolidation and integration. Neuron. 2014 Jan 8;81(1):12-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.025. PMID: 24411729; PMCID: PMC3921176.
3. Baran B, Pace-Schott EF, Ericson C, Spencer RM. Processing of emotional reactivity and emotional memory over sleep. J Neurosci. 2012;32(3):1035-1042. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2532-11.2012
4. Baran B, Pace-Schott EF, Ericson C, Spencer RM. Processing of emotional reactivity and emotional memory over sleep. J Neurosci. 2012;32(3):1035-1042. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2532-11.2012
5. Smith TJ, Wilson MA, Karl JP, et al. Impact of sleep restriction on local immune response and skin barrier restoration with and without “multinutrient” nutrition intervention. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2018;124(1):190-200. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00547.2017
6. Patel SR, Malhotra A, White DP, Gottlieb DJ, Hu FB. Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;164(10):947-954. doi:10.1093/aje/kwj280
7. Morselli L, Leproult R, Balbo M, Spiegel K. Role of sleep duration in the regulation of glucose metabolism and appetite. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;24(5):687-702. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2010.07.005
8. Haack M, Mullington JM. Sustained sleep restriction reduces emotional and physical well-being. Pain. 2005;119(1-3):56-64. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2005.09.011
9. Haack M, Sanchez E, Mullington JM. Elevated inflammatory markers in response to prolonged sleep restriction are associated with increased pain experience in healthy volunteers. Sleep. 2007;30(9):1145-1152. doi:10.1093/sleep/30.9.1145
10. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Sleep Foundation, 10 Mar. 2021, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.
11. Patel AK, Reddy V, Araujo JF. Physiology, Sleep Stages. [Updated 2021 Apr 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526132/
12. “What Is Sleep Hygiene?” Sleep Foundation, 29 Nov. 2021, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene.