Sleep Injuries

In a recent issue of SWIMMER Magazine, writer Thomas Roddy Jr. shared that he stretches early, every morning, because he’s stiff from what his friend Bill refers to as “sleep injuries.”

Sleep Injuries? That is actually a brilliant term.

Most of us Baby Boomers can relate to Sleep Injuries, especially this boomer-slash-swimmer who recently had a big birthday. (WhooHoo for me).

Here’s how it works:

You get into bed, watch some Johnny Carson reruns (if you can stay up past 10 p.m.), finally fall asleep, and when you wake up, you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. A BIG truck. Alas, Sleep Injuries have struck! The aches and pains invaded the body once again. Great. It’s Groundhog Day.

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So you slowly rise, roll over, and rotate your neck, arms, ankles and legs.

Then you carefully slide off the bed, pause for a moment, stand up, and pray to The Good Lord Above you can properly walk to the bathroom to do whatever needs to be done. Ouch. Perhaps after brushing your teeth, taking your vitamins and all the other things you may need, you start walking normally.

Kind of.

Time for some coffee, and before you must start your day, you stretch for a good 5-10 minutes…just to function, like Thomas Roddy points out. Adding some strengthening exercises help, like some squats and sit-ups (although any goals I have to obtain a washboard stomach are more like a wash-TUB stomach, and washed-UP).

While doing that morning wake-up routine, one can’t help but wonder if those “things that go bump in the night” are really Sleep Injuries? If they really exist, what do they look like?

Photo by Ivan Babydov on

To combat the aches and pains of daily life, many people choose to take pain medications, yet many don’t – and for very good reasons. Too scary to mix with other meds, super dangerous and costly these days. Stretching is great, but swimming greatly helps reduce whatever seems to ail an older body. Why are the water exercise classes always so crowded? Those people know that’s one of the secrets to combating Sleep Injuries. For lap swimmers, the constant range of motion, strengthening drills and aerobic activity makes it easier to simply function. When it gets tiring, one of the best parts of swimming laps is when you are done with the workout and climb up the ladder to get out. Wait – a ladder? Yes – this Sleep Injury victim refuses to perform the “big pull up” at the end of the lane – just to get out!

That is when Awake Injuries happen. Be smart! And we, or should it be – I – have enough trouble just getting through the day without stubbing a toe or brushing into a wall.

So, sleep well, everyone…may Sleep Injuries never invade your body overnight like it does for so many of us. If they do cause you those morning ouchies, take it slow…stretch a lot, pray a lot (if you pray), swim if you can, and…just hang in there.

Namaste, Sleep Injuries!

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Author: sinkorswim204

I'm a “veteran” Broadcast producer as well as a former high school and collegiate swimmer who still loves to write. I hope to inspire others to stay afloat in these often turbulent waters while enjoying some new challenges in my middle age.

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