How to Improve your Sleep

By Renan Abagat, Physical Therapist

A Good Nights Sleep

This JOI Rehab Newsletter is focused on sleep related topics. How much sleep do you really need and tips on how to improve your sleeping habits are discussed in this issue.

Knowledge of how to improve your sleep is vital to your health.

Medical Issues Image.

Recent Statistics on Sleep

It has been an age old adage: how many hours of sleep do our bodies need to recuperate so we can wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to face what the day brings? As the demands of life increase in number and complexity, let us look at the effects of temporary and chronic sleep deprivation. It may surprise you to learn that sleep deprivation, for whatever reason, can significantly affect your health, performance and safety. The following

According to an article by Michael J. Breus, PhD, sleep deprivation in the short term decreases alertness and performance. Reducing nighttime sleep by 1 ½ hours could result in 32% decrease in alertness. Sleep deprivation can impair memory and cognitive ability as well as disrupt our relationships with others secondary to mood changes. If you are interested in how to improve your sleep, you should read this article.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year. Decreased alertness can lead to a two-fold increase in risk of sustaining an occupational injury. Untreated sleep disorders that cause chronic sleep deprivation can lead to:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Strokes.
  • Obesity.
  • Psychiatric problems (including depression and mood disorders).
  • Mental impairments.
  • Fetal and growth retardation.
  • Injury.
  • Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality.
  • Poor quality of life.
Sleep Positions

Stress, sleep and relaxation

How much Sleep do we really need?

The longest sleep restriction study was done by David Dinges and Hans Van Dongen at the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. This study suggests the lack of sleep affects our ability to sustain attention as shown by the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT). This measures the sustained attention that is vital for our day to day activities. The study showed that those who had 8 hours of sleep hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study. Those who had 4 hours of sleep and 6 hours of sleep showed a steady decline in sustained attention with each subsequent day. Although the 4 hours of sleep group performed far worse, it is interesting to note that the 6 hour group also consistently fell off-task. By the sixth day, the 6 hours of sleep group experienced five times as many attention lapses as they did the first day. So, if 8 hours is ideal and 6 hours puts us at risk, what about 7?

How to Improve your Sleep: Additional Research

A study by Gregory Belenky to see the effects of odd numbers of sleep hours showed that those who slept for 7 hours each night had slower response time to the P.V.T. and continued to decrease for 3 subsequent days before stabilizing at lower levels than when they started. The study by Dinges also showed that some people who need 8 hours of sleep will immediately feel the effects of a single night of 4 hours of sleep while others can handle experience several 4 hours of sleep a night before a decline in performance is noted. However, there is a small portion (5% or less) of the population that for whatever reason can maintain their performance with five or fewer hours of sleep. Before you reach for that next cup of coffee to wake you up during the mid-afternoon work hours, think about ways you can get enough sleep the next night. Sleep not only keeps us beautiful on the outside, but most importantly from the inside as well. In short, knowledge of how to improve your sleep can be vital. It can enhance:

  • Performance.
  • Improve our memory.
  • Cognition and relationships.
  • Keep us safe.

Sources: Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think, Michael J Breus PhD. WebM


All JOI Physicians and Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home.

  • To schedule a new patient or follow up patient appointment with your MD, please call (904)JOI-2000 or read more here about our orthopedic telemedicine providers.
  • To schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call 904-858-7045 or visit one of the 12 area JOI Rehab Centers.

Related Articles: Best Sleep Positions and How To Sleep With Neck Pain. 

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By Renan Abagat, Physical Therapist

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