Good quality sleep is essential for good physical and mental health and a better quality of life. Unfortunately, Insufficient sleep is a prominent problem in the modern 24-h society that we live in today and there is a considerable body of evidence suggesting that insufficient sleep causes a host of adverse medical and mental dysfunctions (1). Furthermore, Insufficient sleep leads to the derailment of body systems, leading to bigger incidences of cardiovascular morbidity, amplified chances of diabetes mellitus, obesity, reduction in cognitive functions, vehicular accidents, and increased accidents in the workplace (2). Some would even argue that insufficient sleep is prevalent across various age groups and is a public health epidemic that is often unrecognised, under-reported, and has a rather high economic cost (2).
How many hours of sleep do I need per night?
Newborn to 3 months old - 14-17 hrs
4 to 11 months old - 12–15 hrs
1 to 2 years old - 11-14 hrs
3 to 5 years old - 10–13 hrs
6 to 13 years old - 9–11 hrs
14 to 17 years old - 8–10 hrs
Young adults (18 to 25 years old) - 7–9 hrs
Adults (26 to 64 years old) - 7–9 hrs
Older adults (65+) - 7–8 hrs
Source: National Sleep Foundation
Average Sleep Needs by AgeAgeHours NeededMay be pr
How do I get better sleep?
There are a lot of different approaches to getting a better night’s sleep that you can undertake yourself such as;
Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many sleep disorders and problems. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity on most days, but not too close to bedtime.
Being smart about what you eat and drink. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods can all disrupt your sleep, as can eating heavy meals or drinking lots of fluids too close to bedtime.
Getting help with stress management. If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake at night, learning how to handle stress in a productive way can help you sleep better at night. Try meditation or relaxation activities.
Improving your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and reserve your bed for just sleeping, remove phones, TVs and iPad, or any other light forms that can interfere with your sleep.
Developing a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid screens, work, and stressful conversations late at night. Instead, wind down and calm your mind by taking a warm bath, reading by a dim light, or practicing a relaxation technique to prepare you for sleep.
Postponing your worries. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve.
Are there therapies I can try?
Yes, there are different therapies you can try to help with sleep deprivation such as the following.
Infrared Sauna. Recent studies have linked infrared therapy with improved sleep quality. Infrared Therapy calms and relaxes the body & mind, and it increases blood flow helping to reduce pain and inflammation making it easier for us to fall asleep (3). Other studies found that infrared therapy dilates blood vessels and reduces the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure and allowing patients to have a better night’s sleep (4). Furthermore, persons suffering from chronic pain conditions can benefit greatly by partaking in regular 30 min infrared sauna sessions, and again this reduction in pain assisted in promoting better sleep (4). Another benefit of using infrared therapy to help with sleep is that the red light influences your body to produce melatonin and the more melatonin your body creates before bed, the easier it will be to fall and stay asleep (5). For other ailments that benefit from infrared sauna sessions see my blogs at (https://www.strengthmobilityrecovery.com.au/blog)
Cryotherapy. Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) exposes the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time to increase the production of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects your sleep/wake cycles and activates your REM sleep. It also helps release endorphins which results in an energy boost followed by a state of relaxation. Furthermore, WBC helps diffuse inflammation and pain in the body, which results in less restlessness while you sleep at night.
Studies have found that WBC can help promote sleep among patients with insomnia through the regulation of monoamine neurotransmitters. Individuals in this study who repeatedly used WBC noted not only did they have better sleep, but it helped with other ailments such as nerve pain, anxiety, and depression (6)
Other studies have found that athletes having trouble sleeping before events had improved quality of sleep after WBC compared to when they didn’t (7). Anecdotally athletes stated they experienced better sleep quality after WBC exposure and had more energy the following day.
Combination of Infrared Sauna & Whole Body Cryotherapy. The sequence of these two therapies is effective as a process of IFS first followed by WBC (8). Research indicates that heating the body prior to cold exposure increases the cold-related release of norepinephrine (one of the body’s “wonder” hormones and neurotransmitters). As a result, IFS & WBC doubles the process of immune-enhancement, reduction of pain, and mental/cognitive health as this lowers cortisol levels and gives a sense of feeling relaxed and clear-headed (9).
With insufficient sleep becoming a prominent problem in the modern 24-h society that we live in today; it is more important than ever to develop good sleep hygiene. There are many different reasons for poor sleep and many different approaches and modalities we can use. However, there is strong data from the research and anecdotal evidence to suggest Cryotherapy and Infrared Therapy is leading the way as an excellent tool to use for persons with a sleeping disorder. Furthermore, these modalities are proven to help assist people with numerous ailments such as chronic pain and mental health that contribute to poor sleep habits.
(1) Dr. Lawrence Wilson; U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Masuda A, Kihara T, Fukudome T, Shinsato T, Minagoe S, & Tei C. The Effects of Repeated Thermal Therapy for Two Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. [published online April, 2005].
(2) Chattu, V. K., Manzar, M. D., Kumary, S., Burman, D., Spence, D. W., & Pandi-Perumal, S. R. (2018). The Global Problem of Insufficient Sleep and Its Serious Public Health Implications. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 7(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7010001
(3) Gale, George D,et al. (2006). “Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2539004/.
(4) Becky Edwards, M.D., Heather Kort D.O, Faculty Staff Advisor: Dr. John Foxworth, PharmD. A Study of the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna Therapy – Conducted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, 2005.
(5) Hamblin, Michael R. (2017). “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation.” aimspress.com/journal/biophysics, AIMS Biophysics, May 2017.
(6) Rymaszewska J., Ramsey D. & Chł adziń ska-Kiejna S. (2008). Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis (Warsz): 56(1),63-68.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2734249/
(7) Bouzigon, Romain & Ravier, Gilles & DUGUE, Benoit & Grappe, Fred. (2014). The use of whole-body cryostimulation to improve the quality of sleep in athletes during high level standard competitions. British journal of sports medicine. 48. 572. 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093494.33.
(8) Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, Yoshifuku S, Takasaki K, Otsuji Y, Minagoe S, Toyama Y, Tei C. Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1083-8.
(9) Brenner IK, Castellani JW, Gabaree C, Young AJ, Zamecnik J, Shephard RJ, Shek PN. Immune changes in humans during cold exposure: effects of prior heating and exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1999 Aug;87(2):699-710. doi: 10.1152/jappl.19220.127.116.119. PMID: 10444630.