Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely vital for the human body. Getting a good night’s sleep;
- Improves concentration
- Helps to boost your immune system
- Improves digestive function
- Improves memory and ability to retain new information
- Improves physical performance
- Reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure
Sleep is also the time when the body is able to rest and recover from the stressors we place on it throughout the day. This is why it is important for us to set ourselves up in such a way so as to facilitate the rest that our bodies need.
Unfortunately many of the common sleeping postures that people adopt do not allow them the best possible chance to get a good night’s sleep, and may in fact be adding to the irritation of their neck or back.
Sleeping on your back produces the least amount of pressure on your spine, followed by sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your front causes the greatest amount of strain on your spine
Image taken from https://www.necksolutions.com/neck-pillow.html
Important things to consider include
- Everybody is different, meaning that pillow selection is unique to the individual
- Your neck should be in neutral alignment with your spine
- If you sleep on your side you will need a bigger or firmer pillow to maintain this alignment than if you sleep on your back
- People with broader shoulders will need a larger pillow if they are side sleepers
Experimenting with different pillows can be an expensive and time consuming process. One way to alter the height of your pillow in order to test it out is to place a folded up towel in the pillowcase on the bottom side of the pillow. This will allow you to adjust the height of the pillow without needing to buy a new one.
Picking the right mattress for you can be a difficult thing to do. Ideally you want a mattress that is
- Comfortable enough to give you a good night sleep
- Firm enough to give your spine adequate support and to maintain good, neutral alignment
Image taken from https://www.weknowmattresses.com/2012/02/proper-spinal-alignment/
It is important to recognise that the softer a mattress is the more that you will sink into it throughout the night. This may mean that the position you end up in when you wake up may be very different from the one you started in.
If you are experiencing any pain that you feel may be related to the way in which you sleep please come in and discuss this with your physiotherapist.