How do you sleep? If you answered, “I sleep good enough,” your answer is not good enough. You need to know how you sleep.
It’s All About Positioning
You can solve common problems like acid reflux and sleep apnea simply by changing the way you sleep. The most common sleeping position is on the side – 57% of people at least start the night on their side. The next most common positions are on the back (17%) and the stomach (11%). This data was found in a small survey conducted by Tempur-Pedic.
Moving around during the night is common; most people change their sleeping position between 3 and 36 times a night, with the average person switching about a dozen times. What’s not common, though, is getting enough good rest.
Throughout the day we have many stressors. And not just things that “stress you out,” but motions and movements that stress your musculoskeletal system: walking, sitting, running for the bus, and all the other activities we put ourselves through. Our bodies need rest after a long day.
A Long Daze
If you aren’t getting the appropriate 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you probably wake up feeling foggy and groggy. Your body and brain never fully recover because you aren’t giving them the chance. And it might not be your fault.
You go to bed early. You turn off your devices hours before turning in for the night. You meditate, and prepare your body for rest. But you just don’t get it. You don’t get the rest you need because you’re not sleeping the right way. You may not need to change your routine – just the way you sleep.
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“It’s important that people take time to think about how they position themselves when they sleep,” said Peggy Brill, an orthopedic physical therapist. She says that too much time is spent worrying about how much sleep we get, and not how we can get a better night’s sleep.
Up All Night?
Here are some common issues that may be keeping you up, and some easy solutions:
Acid reflux? Elevate your head with some more pillows.
Sleep apnea? Sleep on your side or stomach. This keeps your throat and airways open.
Plantar Faciitis? Don’t tuck the sheets in too tightly (or at all). Your feet and ankles need to be in a relaxed position. Sleeping on your back may be best. If inflammation occurs, elevate your feet with a small pillow.
Shoulder pain? Don’t sleep on that shoulder. Get a big pillow and rest your injured arm on it, like you’re hugging someone.
Back pain? Try a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, try placing a small pillow under your knees, or at the small of your back. This helps to keep the natural curve of your spine.
Neck pain? Don’t sleep on your stomach. Make sure your pillow stays under your head, and not under your shoulders. Try putting a rolled-up hand towel in your pillowcase. This helps to support your neck, and keeps your neck muscles from tensing.
Read more about getting a good night’s rest here.
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