Back pain is an increasingly common issue in the western world. As a culture, we are spending more and more time sitting in front of a desk at work (or at school) and when this is combined with poor posture and poorly designed or adjusted chairs, it puts our spines under a lot of pressure.
Sleeping in an uncomfortable position or on an old or damaged mattress only makes this issue worse.
Sleeping in a natural position can negate many of the stresses that our body is through on a daily basis. The body naturally curves inward in the lumbar area and if we sleep in a way that supports this natural curvature, it can help to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in our back, improving our posture and preventing further damage.
What Does a Good Sleeping Position Look Like?
When you go to sleep, you should try to lie in a position that is as close to the body’s natural alignment as possible. Your head should be supported on a pillow so that your spine is in its normal position while your head is relaxed.
If you like to lie on your side, make sure that you have a pillow between your knees, to encourage your hip bones are aligned correctly to the spine and the head. Do not curl up on a ball with your knees to your chest this can stretch the ligaments of the spine and weaken your lower back. Instead, try to keep the lower back curved slightly inwards, but the rest of your spine fairly straight.
If you sleep on your back, place a rolled up towel under your lower back to support your body’s natural curvature. You should find that once your body is comfortable and able to relax into a natural position, you are less inclined to toss and turn.
Choosing the Right Bed and Bedding
It can be difficult to maintain a good sleeping position if you are sleeping on a mattress that is too soft, or too firm. Ideally, you want to sleep on a mattress that is firm enough to support your body, but soft enough to allow you to sink comfortably into the mattress. If you find that your body is sagging in the middle, or you cannot maintain body alignment for any period of time, consider replacing your mattress.
If you are the sort of person that tosses and turns at night, no matter what surface you are sleeping on, you may find it useful to invest in a lumbar-roll cushion with a waist tie. These cushions can be strapped to your body and will help to ensure that your lower back settles into the correct position no matter how much you move around while you are asleep.
If you suffer from neck pain, make sure that your pillow is firm enough and thick enough, to support your head properly. When your head is resting on your pillow, you should be able to relax and let the pillow support you comfortably. If you feel the need to rest your head on your arm for extra support, then the pillow is probably too low or too soft.
Might Your Existing Bed preventing a Good Night’s Sleep?
In your existence you will typically spend almost a third of your life in your bed. In addition to acting as your close accessory for this large piece of your life, your bed has a very direct influence on the rest of your day. Getting through the day after an inadequate night’s sleep is not usually much fun. Nor is waking up aching or with back pain.
Yet for people who suffer these problems, it’s many times their bed and specifically their old mattress which is the reason. Mattresses have a set lifespan, after which they simply no longer give the support you need, with potentially damaging consequences for your well being. If you aren’t having enough sleep that can have significant effects on your health. A long term lack of sleep can bring about:
– Heart disease
– Memory loss
– Noticeable weight gain
And a poor mattress can bring about or make worse painful back and other muscle and joint problems.
So how can you tell if your mattress is not doing its job properly – preferably before it starts causing problems? Let’s commence with some easy to spot pointers to a mattress which should be consigned to the great bed frame in the sky. See if the mattress sag visibly even without any weight on it? A good mattress should not. When you do lie on it, do you notice lying in a dip (not just the normal give from accommodating your weight)? Either of these suggests that the mattress needs to be thrown away. If the mattress is older than ten years then it has reached the end of its useful (unless the maker specified a greater lifespan). Other symptoms which may demonstrate you have a problem mattress include noticing that you sleep better in other beds or waking up with stiffness every morning.