There’s an Irish proverb that says “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures for anything”. Did you know that 35% of adults report less than 7 hours of sleep per night? In order to obtain maximum mental function, the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep per night. So the question becomes, are you getting enough sleep?
There are a few contributing factors that may effect the amount of sleep you get each night. Stress is one of the most common and one that can be the most difficult to control. Making sure you are eating a proper diet, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly can help manage stress. With all we have going on in our daily lives, it is easy to forget to care for ourselves. Because of this, stress levels can rise, which leads to other medical issues.
Aside from controlling stress, you can prepare your bed for a good sleeping posture. Ideally, the best sleeping posture is on your back. First, try using a pillow or a bolster to elevate your feet from the knees down. This takes the pressure off the joints of the low back, as it allows for proper curvature of the spine. However, there are some medical diagnoses that don’t allow for sleeping on the back. If you are unable to sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. Again, this allows for proper curvature of the spine as well as placement of the hips in this position. The worst posture for sleeping is on your stomach, as it can often lead to shoulder or neck issues and should be avoided if possible.
The other factor for sleeping posture is the type and position of the pillow used. Some people have a preference of using a feather pillow. Though they are soft and fluffy, they’re often not supportive enough for the curvature of the spine. On the contrary, using a memory foam pillow may have too much support for the spine. Therefore, each person may benefit from a different type of pillow. A physical therapist can help you figure out which pillow is best for your needs. Whether firm or soft, the pillow should be placed at the base of the neck for the best support.
Knowing how important sleep is to our everyday health, we must all take the proper steps to ensure we get the best sleep possible. Managing stress, sleeping position, and pillow choice/placement are all factors that could effect the number of hours we get each night. If you are having postural related issues or need help setting up an appropriate sleeping arrangement, feel free to contact our office for more information on how we can help you.
Post written by: Casey Badder, PT