Sleep can have a profound impact on our overall health and wellness.
The average person spends 1/3rd of their life sleeping; therefore, we should be sure to practice healthy sleeping habits. Research suggests sleeping 7-9 hours a night for optimal health and wellness. Studies show even a small deficit in sleep can lead to decreased brain function, decreased athleticism, increased inflammation, and increased risk for becoming sick. In this article we will discuss healthy sleeping habits, recommendations for bed and pillow selection, sleep posture and getting in and out of bed.
Healthy sleep habits:
● Limit screen time before bed. Blue light emitted from our electronic device screens affects melatonin production which adversely affects our sleep.
● Eat your last meal 3-4 hours before bedtime. This will allow for proper digestion before bed.
● Set and follow a normal sleeping routine. Waking up and going to sleep at a consistent time including on the weekend.
● Sleep in a cool room. Ideally 60-68 degrees or utilize a temperature-controlled mattress or mattress pad.
Bed and pillow selection:
The age and quality of your mattress has a huge impact on how you rest and recover. An old or worn-out mattress and box spring can contribute to neck and back issues. It is recommended to replace your mattress every 5-8 years.
● Select a medium to firm mattress- soft or extra firm mattresses can exacerbate back pain.
● Limit pillow top height- excessive pillow top height can decrease support and lead to back pain.
● Select a pillow that will keep your head in a neutral position- avoid stacked and extra thick pillows as they do not keep your head neutral.
Finding your ideal sleeping position takes time and usually depends on your current condition. Generally speaking, it is usually recommended to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs or on your back with a pillow under your knees. Typically stomach sleeping should be avoided as it puts added stress on your neck and back.
Getting in and out of bed:
How you get in and out of bed is equally important as sleep position. These tips should be practiced everyday, not just during a flare up.
● To lie down: Sit on the edge of the bed, with your arms to your sides, slowly lie your body onto the bed in a side lying position, maintaining the bend of your knees at 45 degrees. Finally, bring your feet into a side lying position or roll onto your back.
● To get up: From a side-lying position with your knees bent, push your body upright into a sitting position, swinging your legs over the edge of the bed as you rise.
● Always avoid any rapid movements or swinging of the body as momentum to get out of bed.
There is no perfect universal sleeping position, it takes time and experimentation to discover which position is best for your body and condition. It is recommended to keep a sleep log to note any pain or change in symptoms to help find which position is best for you.
Article by Dr. Johnnie Morgan
For questions and answers on whether you believe your sleep position is adversely affecting your condition please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 310-451-5851.