Do you know the secret ingredient to recovering from an injury?

Do you know the secret ingredient to recovering from an injury?

I will give you a hint it is 5 letters and begins with the letter S.    


Have you ever asked yourself a question – does sleep help injuries heal?

This is for you to share with your patients but also serve as a reminder to you as the reader to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep and injury recovery are tightly connected to each other.

So why is sleep so important to injury recovery?   Here are a few of the top reasons why getting your daily zzz’s is so important

  1. Sleep is important for healthy bone marrow.  This spongy tissue inside our bones contains the ever so important stem cells.  These stem cells inside of the bone marrow eventually form the blood cells in our body.
  2. When your body enters non-rem sleep also known as deep sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones that helps muscles to repair themselves. 
  3. There is also a hormone know as prolactin which is released while sleeping.  This hormone regulates inflammation.  If you are not getting enough rest inflammation is more likely to occur.

Muscle and other soft tissue repair and rejuvenate as we sleep.  So, if you are not getting the necessary sleep at night than your body will not heal from the daily stresses or bounce back from an injury.  Also, as you fall into deeper sleep at night your muscles will have an increase in blood which in turn brings nutrients that repair muscles and speed up the regeneration. 

So hopefully this changes any notions about sleep being unproductive.  It plays a direct role in recovering from injury along with improving many other functions such as brain performance and mood regulation.  It can also help individuals maintain a healthy body weight and improve overall health.

So now that we have highlighted the importance of sleep don’t forget to educate your patients on the importance of seep hygiene.   See the list below for some tips

  1. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and creates a relaxing mood
  2. Temperature is not too hot or too cold
  3. Make a habit to go to bed and wake up at the same time even on the weekends
  4. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom
  5. Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  6. Get some daily sunshine
  7. Be sure to exercise daily


  1. Caitlin Winters on July 15, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    I feel like many of the patients I see are in pain which heavily effects their ability to get good sleep. How do you support healthy sleep habits for our patients who can’t sleep because of their pain?

    • Miranda Materi on July 15, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      This is a very complex question and typically this depends on the etiology of the pain. If it is an acute injury or pain often times their physician will prescribe medication for temporary purposes. You can make recommendation on positioning for comport with pillows of foam wedges. However if the pain is chronic, this has a strong correlation the sleep deprivation cycle which in turns feeds the pain cycles. Often time you can suggest pain distraction techniques such as listening to a favorite music or visualization exercises. If pain management is on board you can discuss what medications may be helpful in taking before sleep.

Leave a Comment

More To Read

Wrist Proprioception Ideas for Hand Therapy

December 15, 2019

Wrist Proprioception Intervention Ideas: By Ammie Ingwaldson Lack of wrist proprioception exercises can affect clients in the hand therapy setting with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. Proprioception limitations are found in common conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, distal radius fracture, and CRPS (Valdes, Naughton & Algar, 2014). Proprioception is necessary during daily tasks to provide…

Read More

7 Tips for your Osteo Arthritis Patients!

April 18, 2021

7 Tips for your OA Patients!  Managing Osteoarthritis in the Hand Our hands are one of the most intricate structures in the human body. They are composed of a network of tendons, ligaments, and nerves that make it possible to perform daily tasks such as unlocking a door, peeling an egg, or sending an email…

Read More

Soft Tissue Healing in Pediatrics

May 3, 2020

By: Chelsea Gonzalez Why do pediatric clients often not require as much hand therapy for soft tissue injuries when compared to adults? The simple answer: Kids have very elastic soft tissue, which can return to its original shape and position after stretch. This elasticity is lost with time as collagen fibers expand and their internal…

Read More

Sign-up to Get Updates Straight to Your Inbox!

Sign up with us and we will send you regular blog posts on everything hand therapy, notices every time we upload new videos and tutorials, along with handout, protocols, and other useful information.