Tips For Healthy Sleeping and Buying a Great Bed:
With Sleeping Posture, Tall Is The Key
Good sleeping posture leads to better mental and physical health.
We tell our patients to “stand tall, walk tall, sit tall and even lie down tall”.
As soon as we hunch our spines and curl up, then our spine is being unnaturally stressed, so the key is to “sleep tall” to decompress discs, align joints and relax muscles.
Good For Your Muscles and Discs
Sleeping with an aligned, ‘tall’ spine helps our adjustments to hold and the longer they hold, the stronger and more resilient our spines become.
Resting at night also allows the discs between the bones in your spine to rehydrate so they can do their job properly to absorb shock and aid in flexibility.
So, getting your eight hours of sleep per night isn’t just good for your mental health, it’s good for your physical health too!
Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.
Research also shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. (NIH)
Apart from feeling rested and ready to meet the new day there are many good reasons to keep regular sleeping rituals as well as having the best tools for sleep – your bed, pillows and bedroom.
Sleeping Posture Tips
- We spend a third of our lives in bed so get the best bed and quality mattress you can afford. See How to Buy a Great Bed below.
- Use your curved pillow. We have ours made specially for optimal shoulder heights and support – not too high or too low and chin raised slightly.
- Sleep in the ideal positions to keep your spine in it’s neutral alignment (see diagram). Than means on side or back with a pillow between or under your knees.
- Never curl up. Stretch to lengthen your body even and especially in the colder months. Cover your neck to stop it tightening up in colder mornings.
- Begin your sleep routine by breathing deeply into your lower chest and belly, freeing up your ribs and the muscles between them and filling your body with vital oxygen.
More on Sleeping Positions
- Side sleeping: This is generally considered a better sleeping position for a healthy spine. Try lying with your lower leg fairly straight and bend your upper leg or try placing a pillow between your knees and bending both your knees and hips slightly to position your pillow. This will reduce pressure placed on the spine and provide alignment.
- Back sleeping: Sleeping on your back can also help maintain a healthy spine. For extra support, place a pillow under your knees to keep to the natural curve of your spine and reduce strain on your lower back. It is also important to ensure your head pillow is the correct height to reduce strain on the curves of your neck.
- Stomach sleeping: Bad news for stomach sleepers, this is considered to be the worst sleeping posture and is not recommended. It puts unnecessary pressure on your neck due to twisting your head and the straining of your lower back. It can also cause pressure on your chest.
For tips on How to Choose a Great Bed download our ‘How To Go About Buying A Great Bed’ handout!
Here are Some More Tips to Establish
Healthy Sleep Habits:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
- Make your bedroom peaceful, quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
(With thanks to the AASM http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits and also to The Chiropractic Joint )
Posture App From the Australian Chiropractors Association:
The ACA has also developed an augmented reality (AR) experience on sleep through the Straighten Up app. Collect the app card from your Dr John or Dr Lawson on your next visit and experience the 3D character come to life in the palm of your hand, as it shows you the poor and correct sleeping positions.