Sound Sleep


How can your private practice highlight National Sleep Awareness Month?

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

The marketing and PR Committee looks ahead to March to see where our efforts might coincide with some of the national events or causes on our calendar. In past years, we have highlighted issues such as brain injuries, March Madness, and the start of Little League baseball and softball. This year, we will focus on a topic that affects not only your current and potential patients, but also your employees and co-workers. March is National Sleep Awareness Month, a topic that impacts individuals on many levels.

We all know how we feel when we do not get enough sleep—but what are the benefits for getting a good night’s sleep?

Just the Facts

What happens when we sleep?1
  • Our blood pressure drops.
  • Muscles relax and receive more blood flow.
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs.
  • Hormones are released (such as growth hormone).
  • Energy is provided to the brain and the body.
What happens when we do not get enough sleep?2
  • Accidents occur: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.
  • Sleep loss impedes cognitive function: Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.
  • Lack of sleep is linked to depression.
  • Loss of sleep can lead to weight gain: Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite.”
  • Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite, but it also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues. Chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for: Heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes.

Chronic sleep deprivation can also jeopardize your patients’ ability to heal. Just one night of less than six hours of sleep negatively affects the expression of more than 700 genes the next day. This leads to weakened immunity, increased inflammation, and decreased cell repair.3

Sleep facts and teens
The Better Health Channel says the typical teenage brain wants to go to bed late and sleep late the following morning. Work on adjusting your body clock and check out these tips:4

  • Choose a relaxing bedtime routine, for example, have a hot bath before bed.
  • Avoid loud music, homework, computer games for about an hour prior to bedtime.
  • Start your bedtime routine a little earlier than usual (for example, 10 minutes).
  • Avoid staying up late on weekends. offers teens some other tips:

  • Make your room a sleep haven. Keep it cool, quiet, and dark.
  • Do not eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of your bedtime.1

Provide information in multiple formats, such as on a company Facebook page, newsletter, and website. Leave facts up in your staff break room.

Hold lectures for coaches, parents, and athletes. The links below offer free information that is easy to share with your community.

Looking at the statistics and suggestions above, it is obvious that sleep deprivation is an epidemic. From improved healing rates to improved performance and mental acuity, helping our patients, staff, and co-workers understand the importance of a good night’s sleep is beneficial to all. While we make note of this for the month of March, physical therapists should spend time every month of the year discussing the benefits of sleep with our patients.

The Marketing and PR Committee hopes that these ideas will help you promote your practice and engage your community. We would love to hear about your successes. We can all spread the message about the benefits of physical therapy—as well as a good night’s sleep.

Share your events in the Marketing section on the PPS Message Board at


1. National Sleep Foundation. Website Accessed December 2014.

2. WebMD. Website Accessed December 2014.

3. Psychology Today. Website Accessed December 2014

4. Better Health. Website Accessed December 2014.


Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

We hope that you have started the New Year off with meaningful planning and a positive outlook. As we look ahead to February, we offer some public relations ideas that you can implement in your practice to increase your community visibility and drive business through your doors. Last year, we offered you thoughts on National Girls and Women’s Health Day, as well as couples workouts for Valentine’s Day. This year, we are staying with the Valentine theme, but providing our consumers with two clear messages:

  1. You do not need a referral from your doctor to access physical therapy.
  2. Give your spouse or loved one the gift of physical therapy.

“How To”


Planning for the new year—what you can expect from the Marketing and PR Committee.

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

The Marketing and PR Committee had a busy year expanding the message of the benefits of physical therapy on a national level while providing members with methods to market and promote their individual practices on a more local level. The committee hopes that you not only found the information useful, but you also utilized what was available in Impact magazine, in the weekly E-newsletters, and on the PPS website. With everything that comes at us as owners, managers, and therapists, it is easy to place our marketing and PR plans in the background. This month’s Impact urges you to plan and take action to realize your goals for 2015. To improve your success, the committee will continue to provide monthly tips on turning “hot topics” into promotions for your company. In addition, the committee will also make 2015 the year of marketing and PR “How To.”

Day of Giving


Give back to your community this October.

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

Each month, we provide you with ideas to help you prominently position your practice in your community and partner with some of the organizations that make a difference in the lives of your clients. The PPS Marketing and Public Relations Committee has organized a monthly calendar of causes and events that your practice can use as part of your marketing and public relations initiatives. As November approaches, we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving, family, and the upcoming holidays. This month’s column ties into the November theme of “Giving.”



Share your passion and celebrate your business during National Physical Therapy Month

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

As we gear up for October, the Marketing and Public Relations Committee urges you to celebrate your profession by sharing your passion! October is National Physical Therapy Month, and we champion you to make it your own and share your passion with your community. Ask yourself: Why did you open your doors? What makes your motor run? What is your purpose? Share these answers with your clients and community!

“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”1 While few may love the ever-increasing administrative burdens, we cannot deny that we have one of the most rewarding professions. Learning the skills necessary to help alleviate patients’ pain and improve their function should humble us every day. It is truly a gift to help those in our community live better lives. Now, let’s celebrate and educate!

How you share your expertise is important—but first you must decide what you would like to share. Some companies have already developed their mission statement, and this may be a great tool from which to build your message. If you have a management team, bring this group together and discuss the message you want your community to receive next month. What makes your practice valuable to the members of your community, and what most excites you and your staff about your profession? Narrow the information down to one or two concepts and then hone your message. In a smaller practice, bring key staff together to perform this task—get input from team members. Sharing their passions will heighten their desire to be a part of the process.

Sharing is caring!

Getting the word out can be done in many different ways:

  • Website: List information on your website regarding any events your practice may be holding.
  • Facebook: Easy and free. Not only can you post events, but you can take advantage of posting pictures that demonstrate your passion and your involvement in your community. Engage your audience so it is not just a one-way street.
  • E-newsletter: This is a great way to get your information out to your fan-base!
  • Media placements: Placing ads in newspapers and in magazines or on radio and on television can be expensive, so it is up to each practice to decide if the cost is worth the exposure. Do not forget to seek out free press opportunities when you invite groups to cover your event!
  • Referral sources: Dropping off information to your referral sources can be more effective than mailing. Think outside the box for this group. Medical doctors easily come to mind, but remember other targets such as massage therapists, personal trainers, nurse case managers, and area coaches, too.

What’s a physical therapist to do?

The ideas should come from your practice to make it your own. Some ideas may be as simple as hosting an event to celebrate your patients or referral sources, and other events may be as elaborate as developing a road race or an obstacle course challenge. Holding a legislative open house provides lots of exposure (featured in Impact September 2013 issue). Hosting your local and state representatives is a sure way to bring in the press, so think about combining this event with something to really set your practice apart.

Physical therapists understand the health care issues that our society faces today. We cannot take this knowledge for granted, but instead should spread our knowledge and understanding to our communities. Every day that our clients place their wellness in our hands is truly a gift.

As Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”2 Celebrate your profession and your passion!


Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co- owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at




1. Accessed July 2014.

2. Accessed July 2014.

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