Habits for Better Recovery: The Importance of Adequate Sleep

Three Ways to Improve Recovery with Sleep

  1. Stay Active
    1. Exercise reduces stress, increases alertness during the day, improves immunity and help to improve sleep quality.
    2. Complete exercise in the early morning or afternoon – exercise late at night interferes with the body’s natural decline in temperature.
    3. Activities that increase your heart rate: running, brisk walking, cycling, and swimming.
    4. Even small bouts, such as 10 minutes, may help, though the goal is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (40-60% effort) (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity (60-90% effort) aerobic exercise each week.
    5. 10,000 steps/day adults, 12,000 – 15,000 steps/day for children (1 mile = ~2000 steps)
  2. Set a Routine
    1. Start by setting consistent sleep and wake times that can be consistent during weekdays and weekends.



Newborns: 0-3 months

14-17 hrs

Infants: 4-11 months

12-15 hrs

Toddlers: 1-2 yrs

11-14 hrs

Preschoolers: 3-5 yrs

10-13 hrs

School aged children: 6-13 yrs

9-11 hrs

Teenagers: 14-17 yrs

8-10 hrs

Young Adults: 18-25 yrs

7-9 hrs

Adults: 25-64

7-9 hrs

Older Adults: 65+

7-8 hrs

    1. Start sleep routine at least 30 minutes before bedtime (turn down lights, read a book, take a hot shower, leave cell phone out of bedroom)
    2. Wake to natural light when possible.
    3. Stop caffeine at least 4 hrs prior to bedtime.
    4. Stop alcohol at least 3-4 hrs before bed time.
    5. Restrict daytime napping to 30 minutes and avoid napping in the evening (after work).
  1. Create a comfortable environment
    1. Dark: Blackout shades, sleeping mask
    2. Quiet: ear plugs, fans, white noise
    3. Cool: 65-72 degrees
    4. Smell: Fresh sheets = better sleep
    5. The bedroom is for two things: Sleep and intimacy
    6. Leave bed if unable to sleep for 20 minutes and do something relaxing. Return when sleepy

Still having trouble sleeping: Try a breathing exercise (4-7-8 breathing) developed by Dr. Weil

  • Exhale completely through your mouth
  • Close your mouth inhale through your nose, count to 4.
  • Hold your breath, count to 7.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, count to 8.
  • Repeat for a total of 4 breaths

Resources (More information):

  • https://www.sleepfoundation.org/
  • https://www.drweil.com/videos-features/videos/breathing-exercises-4-7-8-breath/
  • Catherine F. Siengsukon, Mayis Al-dughmi, Suzanne Stevens; Sleep Health Promotion: Practical Information for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy, Volume 97, Issue 8, 1 August 2017, Pages 826–836, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzx057