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The Importance of Sleep in Recovery

Everybody knows that rest is vital for recovering after an injury. However, rest refers to more than avoiding heavy exercise and moving around less. The essential part of any recovery journey is sleep.

Sleep plays a crucial role in the recovery after an injury or surgery, and it is vital for anybody, from inactive individuals to professional athletes. Read on to learn all about how sleep helps our bodies heal and why you should always make sure to get 7-9 hours of quality rest each night.

How Sleep Helps Our Bodies Heal

Sleep is a time when our brain and body do cleaning and maintenance, and it helps us heal physically and mentally. Proper nightly rest can help the body heal by releasing hormones responsible for new healthy tissues on the injured site.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

HGH, along with testosterone, is responsible for building proteins that replace damaged ones in ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones. Since the concentrations of HGH are highest during our sleep, it is when most of the repair occurs.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t produce as much HGH, and it is harder for your injuries to heal. A single night of insufficient sleep will most likely not affect your recovery. However, a chronic lack of sleep will impair your body’s ability to heal, and you will need more time to get back to your full strength.


In addition to HGH, the body also releases prolactin during the night, which is a hormone that helps regulate the inflammatory response. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t produce as much prolactin, and you are more likely to experience a mild inflammation. That can delay your recovery process and put you at an additional risk of injury.


Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. Your body secretes it when you are under stress, and it has many functions, including breaking down proteins for energy. That is opposite to what you need for proper recovery, which is why high stress and cortisol levels are not good during this phase.

When you sleep, cortisol levels go down, which leads to a better mood, higher energy levels, less anxiety, and steady blood pressure. In addition, HGH can do its job, ensuring the best outcome of your recovery journey.

Leptin and Ghrelin

Leptin and ghrelin play a vital role in the regulation of appetite. Ghrelin tells your body when you are hungry, while leptin tells you when you’ve had enough food. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, the production of these two hormones gets disrupted, which can lead to weight gain. Weight gain can put more pressure on the injured site, slowing down your recovery.

A Road to Recovery

You can improve your sleep by employing a few simple principles such as:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding screens one hour before bedtime
  • Not drinking caffeine 6 hours before sleep
  • Staying active
  • Avoiding heavy meals before bed

In addition, you can get the right recovery plan and counseling at Spring Chiropractic. Dr. Scott Bolz founded this center more than 25 years ago to help people by using holistic approaches. With tons of experience in recovery, Spring Chiropractic is the perfect place to get your life back on track.