At Mattress Clarity, we’re committed to providing our readers with accurate, unbiased, and up-to-date information about sleep.
As part of those efforts, we draw on the Mattress Clarity Expert Network — a group of experienced professionals in and around the field of sleep health who guide us in providing high-quality sleep education content.
These experts ensure that the content we publish is accurate and share their knowledgeable perspectives about sleep health news. When an expert contributes to any piece of our content, we cite them by name and title and include a link to their profile.
We recently spoke with one of our experts, physical therapist Dr. Bo Babenko, DPT, to learn more about his work and how physical therapy and sleep health are inextricably linked.
Mattress Clarity (MC): How and why did you decide to become a physical therapist?
Bo Babenko (BB): I realized in high school that I wanted to work with the human body and sports. After exploring numerous other ways to blend these (athletic training, personal training, orthopedic surgery, EMT, and a few others), PT seemed to be the best fit for me. There are so many things about the profession I wish we could change, and we are fighting hard from many fronts to change some of the laws and philosophy around it.
MC: What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
BB: Getting to travel the world; working with a celebrity to help prepare him for a surgery and recover; working with members of the royal family in the UAE; getting to a point where I can educate folks and show them what proper PT can be — loading appropriately, working together online to ensure proper progression
MC: When did you start to take an interest in sleep?
BB: It really ramped up when I was introduced to CrossFit in 2010. The demands of the sport required improved recovery and in turn there were a lot of resources that I was able to utilize, including working with Reverie Sleep Systems as their “sleep doctor.” I learned a lot and was able to share a lot of amazing info.
MC: How does the topic of sleep inform the work you do with physical therapy clients?
BB: Sleep has huge implications to my work as a PT. I always emphasize that sleeping more than 9 hours is the equivalent of taking steroids in the best way possible — specifically with release of Human Growth Hormone, thus speeding up recovery significantly. People seem to respond well to that! Also, there are a number of ways I work with people on sleep positions to get the most out of their nighttime rituals.
MC: You’ve recently started a new company with your wife, called Your Energeia. How did this company come to be?
BB: My wife and I are both clinicians, and we tend to see people with problems that we agree are relatively avoidable and much easier to treat the earlier we get to them. So we started this company to help couples improve their emotional connection as well as work together on their physical health to avoid common issues.
MC: Does sleep relate at all to the work you do at Your Energeia?
BB: Absolutely! On the physical side of the company, I put a huge emphasis on overall health, which includes recovery, nutrition, as well as rehab/prehab.
MC: What are your top three tips for anyone looking to improve their sleep?
- Set a sleep alarm to start winding down.
- Stay consistent. Even on weekends and [during] travel, the more consistency you have with your sleep, the better the quality will be.
- Create your sleep cave: cool temperature (68-72 deg), zero light (cover up any little lights, bring electrical tape with you to hotel rooms!), no electronics!
Interested in joining Mattress Clarity’s Expert Network? If you’re a sleep or medical expert who wants to share your expertise with our readers, please contact our Editorial Controller, Laura Newcomer, at laura (at) mattressclarity (dot) com.