Getting a good nights sleep is the best way for the body to recover after a busy day. So, how do you sleep soundly?
1) Your Mattress
Most people buy a new mattress when their old one “wears out,” meaning that it’s tattered, torn, excessively stained and/or otherwise unappealing to sleep on. Generally, it is not a good idea to keep a mattress longer than 10-15 years due to the wear and tear you put it through. Depending on the quality, it may last longer or shorter. Going to a store and lying on a mattress for a few minutes is not enough time to make a decision on something you will have to lie on every night for years to come. You need to test it out in a real sleep environment to make sure you can experience rejuvenating sleep. After all, why pay good money to end up tossing and turning every night?
Choose a mattress that has a trial period so that if you do not like it, you can return it and get another. Most good mattresses come with trial periods of anywhere from 90 days to up to five years, depending on where you buy them. Do not buy a mattress if you have no ability to return it. They cost far too much money to have buyer’s remorse later.
Again, in terms of which specific mattress type/style to choose, it really boils down to how it makes you feel/sleep. Some people prefer a firm mattress, while others like a softer mattress. As long as it adequately supports your head, neck and back during sleep (meaning you don’t sink into it excessively or don’t hurt the next day from lying on something that feels like your hard floor), it’s what makes you sleep well that matters most.
2) Sleeping Position
Okay, so you’ve picked out your “perfect” mattress; now how do you sleep on it? From a health perspective, the best position for sleep is on your back with a pillow under your knees. The pillow should be comfortable for you and help take pressure off the small of your back. The second-best position is on your side with a pillow between your knees. The pillow between the knees must be thick enough to keep your thighs hip-width apart. On your side also means you need a supportive pillow (I’ll explain what kind of pillow in just a minute).
The most undesirable position for sleeping is on your stomach. This is because you need to turn your head to either side in order to breathe, which can cause neck pain. Often I notice that people who sleep on their stomachs also throw one or both arms over their head, which can lead to pain in the shoulders as well. Please try to avoid this position, as it is not healthy for your body.
3) Your Pillow
Think about how you like to sleep before you choose your pillow. People who sleep on their back need a thinner pillow than those who sleep on their side. There are so many pillows to choose from, but my best advice to you is to take your current pillow to your chiropractor and let them analyze it for you.
Your head should not be lifted so high that it cranes your neck. While on your side, your pillow should cradle your neck so that your spine forms a 90-degree angle with a line through the shoulders. Don’t be fooled! Just because you have an orthopedic or fancy memory foam pillow doesn’t mean it is right for you. In fact, it could be one of the causes of your sleep problems. Again, let your doctor evaluate your pillow and discuss the best option to maximize your sleep.
Source: To Your Health –By: Kevin Wong, DC