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Sleeping properly

When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of modern life, cutting back on sleep can seem like the only answer. How else are you going to get through your neverending to-do list or make time for a little fun? Sure, a solid eight hours sounds great, but who can afford to spend so much time sleeping? The truth is you can’t afford not to.

Sleep consists of a series of distinct cycles and stages that restore and refresh your body and mind. Even minimal sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, weight and ability to handle stress and infections. Good sleep is restorative. The hours you spend in restful sleep gives your body the time it needs to regenerate. Specific hormones are released while sleeping that repair the body and ensure the proper growth of children. Good and restful sleep is also a factor in staying healthy and helping the body fight infections and even get well quicker if you do fall ill. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.

SPINAL HEALTH AFFECTS YOUR SLEEP QUALITY

Musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia and arthritis can adversely affect sleep quality. Further, sleep disorders such as insomnia have been associated with “painful musculoskeletal conditions that may result in sleepiness, irritability, and feelings of misery.”

Subluxations of the spine, with their altered joint positioning, have a substantial effect on the spinal nerves, therefore the nervous system. Knowing this it is simple to understand, that if you are sleeping whilst experiencing an overactive nervous system, there will be compromise of not only the length of sleep but also the quality of your sleep.

SLEEPING POSTURE

The position your spine is in while you sleep is critical to your spinal health. Sleeping with all your spinal curves in neutral keeps the spine relaxed with minimal pressure on nerves, muscles and spinal discs.

Sleeping on your stomach
This position is definitely a no go! It will eventually create problems with your spine. It places unnecessary pressure on your neck and upper back due to twisting of your head, and also strains your lower back.

Sleeping on your side
Try lying with your lower leg fairly straight, and bend your upper leg at the hip and knee. Place a pillow between your upper knee and the bed. Alternatively, bend both knees and hips slightly and position a pillow between both knees.

It is very important that the pillow under the head is at the right height in order to keep the neck straight. It is advised to use a contoured pillow to support the neck.

Sleeping on your back
This position is a good alternative to sleeping on your side. It is often useful to place a pillow under your knees as this may help reduce strain on the lower back. Again, it is very important to have a contoured pillow under your neck for support. The “flatter” your mid back is though, the thinner your pillow should be.

For many Australians, the underlying cause for poor sleep is literally right under them. Improving your sleep quality can be as simple as sleeping on a better mattress. According to a recent study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, compared to mattresses 5 years old or older, a new mattress provided sleepers with significant improvements including:

– 70.8% in sleep comfort
– 62% in sleep quality
– 55.3% in back pain
– 50.7% in spine stiffness

We spend a third of our lives in bed, so choosing the correct mattress and pillow is vital for getting straight to sleep. Call Health Focus Centre and speak to Dr Raffi about what is best for you!