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Hitting the snooze Button

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

The days are shorter and the nights are longer, as are the lights out. This leaves us sure in the knowledge that Winter is coming! The colder nights and mornings leaves us wanting longer stays in bed and great temptation to be a little lazier, a little more sedentary. Simply put, we are entering the season of hibernation, and this is the season we defy the odds!

I am definitely not a morning person. That been said I now have 2 kids doing cross country and I'm exhausted just thinking about it. So instead of getting bogged down in the thought of it, I have decided to try embrace change and create better habits, afterall, staying in bed may be nice but too much can have unintended consequences.

This month I have worked with a few people that have spent too much time in bed, either from a period of hospitalisation or from illness. Each of us is likely to experience this at least once in our lives and learning how to minimise the negative effects will help us recover much quicker. So whether it is caused by a trauma, surgical procedure or illness, this will hopefully help you in the future!

So what are the negative effects of too much time in bed?

  • Stiffness - if your muscles don't get moved and stretched, they become very stiff. This is not just for older individuals, but younger too, although as you age you tend to stiffen quicker. Not only do joints and muscles need to move, so do nerves!

  • Weakness - if you not using your muscles, they will waste away, most especially if you sick and not eating well.

  • Blood pressure irregularities - over and above those caused by illness, postural changes can become an issue

  • Circulation challenges - with decreased use of you limbs, your body may not be able to bounce back the blood flow as quickly, as well as potential pressure areas if you do not change position regularly.

  • Pain - your body is not designed to be still, or immobile for extended periods, the pain can be caused by all of the problems named above!

What can you do to prevent complications or minimise negative effects?

  • Ask you Dr what the limits of your illness or procedure are, and move as much as you are allowed - even in the bed. Follow instructions and advice, don't be tempted by Dr Google!

  • Listen to your body, but also seek advice if you unsure - customised exercise program to keep you going while you recover

  • If allowed, always eat on the side of a bed and not in it and stand on the side of the bed if you cannot walk. Every little bit helps!

  • Follow a routine, don't let the days blur together. A time to rest, a time to stretch, a time to exercise, self care and hygiene. Function is the first exercise - try do what you can for yourself!

  • Follow a healthy diet, taking care to get enough water, protein and fiber.

  • Stay positive. It will be tough in the beginning but you will be surprised how quickly it can come back!

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