Rob O'Donnell - Physiotherapist

Southern Suburbs Physiotherapy Centre (SSPC)

705 Centre Road, East Bentleigh VIC 3165
(03) 9509 9796

What inspired you to become a Physiotherapist? 

A big sporting interest growing up that culminated in running nationally and Internationally saw me consulting many physiotherapists and developing a keen interest in the profession. A desire to help others achieve their goals with a special interest in elite performance/sport saw me stay involved with my sport as a physio.

What is your philosophy when it comes to helping individuals improve their sleep health? Are there any specific principles or strategies you follow in your practice?

During sleep your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In adults sleep is an essential physiological process for both mental and physical health. In children and teens, sleep helps support growth and development. constant lack of quality sleep raises the risk of long term health problems.

What are some of the most common sleep-related issues you encounter in your practice? 

We see a lot of people from the sporting population and post operative patients. Lack of quality sleep can contribute to injury development as sleep is exceptionally important for recovery from strenuous exercise. We focus a lot on sleep as an essential part of recovery and absorption of training to help with improved sporting performance.

Recovery from training sessions is as important as any training session we ever do. A good nights sleep enhances recovery which helps us absorb the training we have done which then allows us to train again. So, in summary fitness gains only come if you are recovering and absorbing each session you do. You can’t do that without quality sleep which for an athlete should be 7-9 hours per day.

How do you go about diagnosing and addressing these issues? 

I emphasise recovery and educate athletes on the importance of recovery in their training programs. You only benefit from training that you recover from and sleep is a very important part of that recovery. We change over our runners far more often than we change our pillows which we use daily for 6-9 hours. We suggest apps and books that might help someone who is having trouble sleeping. Ideally we try to get people to go to bed a bit earlier if they tend to be a night owl.

Advice for better sleep.

Healthy sleep means both quantity and quality. It is essential that you not only spend adequate amounts of time in bed but also get some deep sleep- NREM ( Non Rapid Eye Movement) which is your deepest sleep, when the body relaxes fully and repairs itself. Avoid screens before sleeping. Try meditation apps to get you to sleep if battling to sleep.

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