How You Sleep and What You Sleep On Can Make The Difference In Pain Management
One of the most common questions we get from our patients is about the best position for optimal sleep. All the mental and physical stresses we face in “normal” life make getting a good night’s sleep a challenge, let alone during these uncertain times.
Good quality sleep is an essential part of our nightly repair processes such as emotional regulation, memory, cardiovascular function, and muscle and joint healing.
Sleep Ergonomics: Here are a few tips that can help improve your sleeping posture. Try and remember that both sides of your body should be a mirror image to each other.
Tip No. 1: Sleeping on your back is always best but try and place pillows under your knees. If you’re a side sleeper then the fetal position is optimal with a pillow between your knees and your legs evenly bent.
Tip No. 2: Never, never sleep on your stomach. It can cause unnecessary strain on the nerves and muscles of your neck, not to mention twisting of your pelvis.
Tip No.3: Sleep with your arms down, not under your head or pillow. This causes problems with circulation and nerve irritation. Sometimes it can cause neck and shoulder issues.
Mattress: Research suggests that medium to firm mattresses are beneficial for those with chronic low back pain. They have been shown to improve sleep quality by 55% and back pain by 48%. Replace your mattress every 8-10 years even if the warranty says 20+ years. Manufacturers are soon going to be switching to shorter warranty periods.
Pillow: Your ideally fitted pillow should support the head, neck, and shoulders, keeping your spine aligned as you sleep. An ergonomic pillow is designed to accommodate your back or side sleeping position (not stomach) by minimizing any tension to your neck muscles, joints, and nerve structures.
A top favourite at Campus Chiropractic is the Water Pillow: Robert A. Lavin, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation had this to say:
“The water-based pillow may lessen neck pain and associated headaches and improve sleep and stress-coping skills by better supporting neck muscles and structures damaged by injury or disease”.
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