• 3 Reasons Not to Skip Sleep This Holiday Season…Plus 3 Tips For Better Sleep

    December 10, 2017 | By Tony Yong

    With the busyness of the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to burn the candle on both ends. Unfortunately, our sleep can end suffering.

    Sleep is an important pillar of health. And along with diet and exercise, sleep health is an important component to living well. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping. Anyone who has experienced any disruption sleep will attest to the far-reaching effects of disrupted sleep to every part of life.

    3 Reasons Not to Skip Sleep

    The difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, known as insomnia, affects many people. Although the odd sleepless night is not something to worry about, chronic disrupted sleep can have significant impacts on our health.

    Although there are many negative health consequences from poor sleep, we wanted to take a moment to highlight three: 

    First off, the risk for developing medical problems increases. The odds of having any chronic medical problem is 5x higher for those that struggle with chronic insomnia than those who don’t.

    Second, not getting enough sleep can also increase our pain levels. In a 2008 study of the general population, research highlighted the relationship between sleep duration and following-day pain.  Getting less than six hours (or more than nine hours) of sleep was associated with substantial increases in pain frequency the following day.

    Finally, our performance suffers. Even though we think we’re getting ahead,  sleep deprivation makes us less productive. Sleeping less than seven hours per night has been shown to decrease performance testing in alertness, reaction time, memory and decision making.

    Tips for Better Sleep

    Since sleep is a behaviour, it stands to reason that our habits surrounding sleep can influence our sleep quality and duration. Here are a few tips to improve your sleep: 

    Tip #1: Keep your Reading, Working and TV Watching out of the Bedroom

    Although one’s bed can seem like a comfortable extension of the couch, performing activities other than sleep can result in poor behavioural conditioning. These activities become paired with the bedroom and unfortunately sleep is left behind in the process.  

    Tip #2: Avoid Drinking Before Bed to Help You Fall Asleep

    With this busy season, it’s easy to get stressed. And although we may think that an alcoholic drink will help us sleep better, it doesn’t. Alcohol can help you fall asleep more easily, but it has been shown to result in less deep sleep and a fragmented sleep cycle. The result?  Feeling less refreshed and rested the next day.

    Tip #3: Stay away from Falling Asleep in Front of the TV

    Although watching some TV can help us unwind from a busy day, it’s best to avoid falling asleep in front of the TV. Watching TV can be relaxing, but the habit of falling asleep in front of the TV means you are behaviourally pairing sleep with the TV.  Your couch becomes your sleep sanctuary as opposed to your bedroom! When you go to bed you’ll struggle falling asleep because your brain has not equated sleep with the bed and bedroom.

    We hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and hope you don’t forget to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep.

    Are you wanting to feel better and move better?

    Book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our 5 clinics located throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park including Riverbend, Meadowlark, Belvedere, Namao, or Sherwood Park.


    Lichstein, K. L., Taylor, D., McCrae, C., Ruiter, M. (2016) Insomnia: Epidemiology and risk factors. In Kryger et al (Ed.), Principles and practice of sleep medicine (6th ed.). (pp. 761-768). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

    Edwards, R. R., Almeida, D. M., Klick, B., Haythornthwaite, J. A., & Smith, M. T. (2008). Duration of sleep contributes to next-day pain report in the general population. Pain, 137(1), 202–207. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2008.01.025

    Fullagar, H. H. K., Skorski, S., Duffield, R., Hammes, D., Coutts, A. J., & Meyer, T. (2014). Sleep and Athletic Performance: The Effects of Sleep Loss on Exercise Performance, and Physiological and Cognitive Responses to Exercise. Sports Medicine, 45(2), 161–186.