Having trouble getting to
sleep at night? Waking up with back pain? Here are some simple, yet effective
tips to help you get a good night's sleep, while being good to your back and
neck in the process.
well-made bed is crucial to a healthy nights sleep. The mattress should be soft
enough to conform to the contours of your spine and the areas of highest
pressure (your shoulder and hip), while remaining firm enough to support your
weight without sagging. If you feel that your bed is questionable, there a few
things you should try:
your mattress and flip it over. This should be done on a regular basis, (i.e.,
1 time every three weeks).
your mattress off of your box spring and place it on the floor. Sleep on the
mattress, on the floor, for a few days. If your comfort level I quality
of sleep improves, then it's not your mattress at fault, but rather your box
spring. The solution can be to buy a new box spring or you could place a
piece of plywood (preferably % inch) between the box spring and mattress, or
simply keep the mattress on the floor.
Support your neck
is very important to support your spines natural curves while you sleep. By
supporting your neck as you lie on your back or side, you are cradling the many
joints in your neck. Sleeping without a good pillow can place excessive stress
on the joints on one side of your neck while placing unnecessary tension on the
opposite side. Furthermore, you are taking a great deal of strain off of your
muscles by maintaining the natural curve in your neck throughout the night. Your
head weighs about 10 - 13 pounds. The only rest your neck muscles get is when
you're lying down. That's why, when sleeping it's important to rest them by
using a pillow that properly supports your head and helps maintain the natural
curve of your neck. A water-based pillow is our preferred choice because it's
supportive, doesn't wear out, and can be customized to suit your needs. Ask us
more about them and use that old flat one for between your knees when you sleep
on your side.
supporting the natural neck curves.
Pillow flexing neck and placing strain.
too thin, or thick, resulting in excessive strain on neck.
Stay off your stomach
on your stomach is very detrimental to the body. This position strains the
natural curve of your low back and forces you to twist your neck to one side.
Placing a strong, consistent force on the joints of your neck, sleeping on your
stomach can actually promote the degeneration of these joints. Additionally,
sleeping on your stomach invariably means you'll have your arms above your head,
which when done for an extended period of time can wreak havoc on your shoulder
joints. Sleeping on your back is best, while sleeping on your side is acceptable
provided that your keep your body aligned properly and keeping your knees on top
of one another with a pillow in between.
on the stomach places strain on the natural curves of the low back and neck.
on your back is best.
Sleeping on your side is acceptable.
Support your knees
placing a pillow between your knees as you sleep on your side, you take a
significant amount of stress off
of your hip joints and pelvic (sacroiliac) joints. By placing a pillow under your
knees while you sleep on your back,
you relieve the pressure on your lower back and improve the chances
you'll wake up without aches or pains in your back.
Sleeping on your side
with your knees directly on top of each other reduces strain to your hips and
the bedroom for sleeping. Ideally the room should be quiet, dark and
comfortable. Desks, televisions, and eating meals in your bedroom all train your
subconscious mind to think that the bedroom and sleep don't necessarily go
Keep a regular schedule
to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning
allows your body to
become accustomed to a daily cycle that will increase the amount of deep,
restorative sleep your body needs. Although it may be tempting to hit the snooze
button several times on the weekend, these irregular sleep patterns may in fact
be detrimental in
the long run.
go of the day's thoughts
carried over from the day's activities may result in poor sleep. If your
mind is racing as you lie there trying to fall asleep, try one of these two
PEN AND PAD BESIDE YOUR BED. THIS WAY, YOU CAN WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE THINGS THAT
ARE ON YOUR MIND FROM TODAY, AS WELL AS ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU'RE
THINKING ABOUT FOR TOMORROW. IF YOU WRITE THEM DOWN, THEy'LL BE THERE WHEN
YOU WAKE UP, SO YOU CAN FOCUS ON THEM WHEN YOU'RE MOST PRODUCTIVE.
UP AFTER 30 MINUTES. IF YOU'VE BEEN LYING IN BED FOR A HALF AN HOUR, AND
FEEL AS THOUGH YOU'RE GETTING NOWHERE CLOSE TO A SLEEPING STATE, GET UP AND
DO SOMETHING THAT YOU FIND RELAXING. IT MAY BE A BOOK, TELEVISION OR MUSIC.
THE IMPORTANT PART IS TO LEAVE YOUR BEDROOM, AND CHANGE YOUR FOCUS TO
SOMETHING THAT IS RELAXING TO YOU. WHEN YOU FEEL TIRED, GO BACK TO BED AND
eat too close to bedtime.
a proven fact that you will not sleep as well if your body is busy trying to
process food that you just ate. When you eat, your metabolism speeds up, and
consequently, you sleep less well. Furthermore, if you eat late, then go to bed
shortly thereafter, you are promoting the conversion of whatever food you eat to
fat! Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day, as you don't burn the
calories that you take in nearly as efficiently at night as you do in the
morning. Believe it or not, Sumo wrestlers achieve their enormous size by taking
naps after every meal, thus promoting the conversion of calories to fat! As
well, skip that evening cup of coffee, tea or cola. The stimulating effects of
the caffeine in these drinks can last up to 6 hours, thereby compromising your
having a nightcap.
this, we mean don't have an alcoholic drink before you retire for the night.
Researchers have found that alcohol hinders your ability to achieve deep sleep.
People who have a drink before bed often feel tired in the morning, because they
did not get enough deep, restorative sleep. Research indicates both quality and
quantity of sleep is important to both physical and mental health. It is
believed that non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep helps repair cells, rest the
body and mind, and boost the immune system while REM sleep helps store memories
and consolidate learning.
INTERESTING SIDE-NOTE, HORMONAL CHANGES AS WE AGE NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE
AMOUNT OF DEEP RESTORATIVE SLEEP THAT WE CAN GET. THIS IS WHY ELDERLY PEOPLE
CAN SLEEP VERY OFTEN AND STILL FEEL TIRED, WHILE CHILDREN CAN HAVE A LITTLE
NAP AND FEEL TOTALLY RECHARGED.
plenty of rest.
have also found that there really is no way to "catch up" on missed
sleep. The ideal amount of sleep varies for every individual, but a good rule of
thumb is to get enough sleep so you don't need to rely on an alarm. Experiment
with this, preferably on the weekend!
remember, sleep is supposed to be enjoyable! The primary purpose of sleep is to
relax your body and prepare you for the next day's activities, and your body
requires certain amounts of it in order to function in a healthy, efficient
manner. Try these sleeping tips to help you maximize your potential!