How Seriously Should We Take Cliche Health Advice? by Physio, Bernadette Emuang
You’ve probably heard it before, that we need to sleep well, drink lots of water, and eat good food for a healthy body. How true is it, though? Does it really affect us when we neglect these little things in our everyday life? Is it really that big of a deal?
Today, let’s take a look at what research has to say!
Sleep for overall health
It is commonly reiterated by healthcare professionals, “get more sleep!” Patients even in their twenties tell me they regularly get only 5 hours of sleep per night, and I often encourage them to set time aside for more.
Studies have recently shown that sleep disorders are often comorbid with a broad range of medical and psychiatric conditions. The research demonstrates that lack of or poor quality sleep has a negative impact on health, mood and quality of life.
Sleep is also incredibly important for heart health, sleep duration above or below the median of 7-8 hours is associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension, in a study done on adults aged 40 years and up. (Gottlieb et al., 2006). If you’ve been sleeping less than 7 hours a night, it may be a good idea to amp it up even just a little!
The importance of hydration
It is well known that hydration is extremely important for the human body and for all living creatures. Dehydration has been known to reduce organ function (such as the heart, kidneys and gastrointestinal system), reduce performance in athletes and induce headaches, migraines and reduced levels of concentration. Mild levels of dehydration can produce disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning in the young and the old, particularly those in hot climates.
Good hydration is associated with a reduction in urinary tract infections, hypertension, fatal coronary heart disease, venous thromboembolism, and cerebral infarction, also known as strokes. Are you taking a big gulp of water yet?
Nutrition and the musculoskeletal system
Nutrition is incredibly important for not just the musculoskeletal system but the entire body. Osteoporosis is a condition that plagues older populations, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men. Osteoporosis can lead to fractures and reduced mobility, bringing about a range of other health problems along with it. Diet has been shown to be the most important aspect in preventing this condition, especially the roles of calcium and vitamin D, as well as protein, vitamin K, and vitamin A. (Advani et al., 2003)
Apart from bone health, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is also vital for musculoskeletal health. Low vitamin D intake has been associated with sarcopenia, also known as muscle wasting or weakness. (Wolff et al., 2008) The jury is out, and a diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals is in!
Take one step forward
Whether it’s sleep, water intake or nutrition, it would be a good idea to take a small step forward in improving your overall health. If you are in pain or require more assistance, book a consultation with us today!
Gottlieb, D. J., Redline, S., Nieto, F. J., Baldwin, C. M., Newman, A. B., Resnick, H. E., & Punjabi, N. M. (2006). Association of Usual Sleep Duration With Hypertension: The Sleep Heart Health Study. Sleep, 29(8), 1009–1014. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/29.8.1009
Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
Wimalawansa, S. J. (2011). Vitamin D: an essential component for skeletal health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1240(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06374.x
Wolff, A. E., Jones, A. N., & Hansen, K. E. (2008). Vitamin D and musculoskeletal health. Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology, 4(11), 580–588. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncprheum0921
Zee, P. C. (2006). Sleep and Health. Archives of Internal Medicine, 166(16), 1686. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.166.16.1686