The Physical Therapy Doctor - April 2021

As people grow older, they’re more likely to find themselves at home with less company. If your family members live far away or you have physical limitations that make it difficult to leave the house, you may be at an increased risk of experiencing loneliness. This is why adopting an animal can be so helpful. Pets offer comfort and love, and many encourage physical activity. Integrating a pet into your life as you grow older can be just what you need to lift your spirit and keep you healthy. The Benefits of Pet Ownership A lack of purpose can take a significant toll, but the sense of duty pet owners have around caring for their animals helps them avoid this. The daily tasks of feeding, playing with, and walking your animal can help provide structure and bring meaning to your life. They also give you something to look forward to each day. What’s better than waking up or coming home to a wagging tail or loud meow? This is how pets help improve their owners’ mental and physical health. Studies also show that those who care for pets have less stress and lower blood pressure and cholesterol than their petless counterparts. You’re also more likely to maintain a daily exercise routine. FELINE FRIENDS OR CANINE COMRADES HOW PETS IMPROVE OUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

Humans have an innate need to be social, and without someone to talk to regularly, our mental well-being can start to deteriorate. Pets may not be the best conversation partners, but they may increase your social activity. Walking a dog to a local park every day, for example, can provide an opportunity for you to interact with other people. If you live alone, this simple activity can increase your social circle and improve your mental health. Find the Right Pet Before taking advantage of the many benefits pets offer, it’s crucial to consider which pet is right for you. Doing research can help answer important questions about which animals might be a good fit for you and your lifestyle and which aren’t. Finding a perfect match may take some time, but once that connection is made, there is nothing that will bring more joy into both of your lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of questions that will help guide you to the perfect pet. Take a look at .


Sleep is essential for good health. It recharges your body and helps you start your day refreshed and alert. With so many wearable devices and sleep tracking apps on the market now, you may be wondering if you should be tracking your sleep. If any of the following apply to you, you may benefit from using a sleep tracker. • You have difficulty sleeping soundly. You wake up repeatedly throughout the night, either due to environmental noises (a snoring partner) or a sleep disorder (sleep apnea). • You feel exhausted during the day. When you don’t get enough sleep at night, you’ll feel tired during the day and may have difficulty focusing and be less productive.

table. Many track your heartbeat and movement. It’s important to keep in mind that while sleep trackers can provide valuable insights, the data they produce is based on an estimate rather than a direct measurement. For a full analysis of your sleep patterns, you should schedule a sleep study. Which device should you get? There are many trackers out there — including medical-grade trackers — so how do you decide which is right for you? You’ll want to assess both the cost of the device and the kind of data you’d like to collect. The Actiwatch is a medical- grade tracker that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is often used by doctors. However, it can cost up to several thousand dollars. Store-bought sleep trackers are not as accurate as the Actiwatch, but they are more affordable and still provide useful insights. If you choose to use a FitBit, Jawbone Up, or an Android watch, you should track your nightly sleep as well as any naps you take throughout the day to get the best results.

• You want to improve your performance. Whether you’re an athlete or you simply want to do your best at work, consistently getting a full night’s sleep is essential. What do sleep trackers monitor? A typical sleep tracker monitors your sleep phases, quality, duration, and environmental factors. Some devices strap to your wrist, while others clip onto a pillow or monitor from a bedside

If you are having a severe case of insomnia, narcolepsy, or any other sleeping disorder, it’s essential to speak to your doctor who knows your medical history. They can help you find the best solution to a good night's rest.

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