Getting a good night’s sleep is so important and can also be very difficult. Sleep restores our body and gives us the energy to combat the day, fight off illness, and do our jobs. For some people, sleeping is a breeze, but for others falling asleep and staying asleep can be a real challenge.
Tips for falling asleep:
1. Get into a good routine before bed to help your body unwind. A nice bath, a candle, and a book- something that truly relaxes you.
2. Put the phone and computer away for about an hour before bedtime. The light from the screen affects our body’s biological clock and tricks it into thinking it’s still daytime (or use blue light blockers if you will be using screens).
3. Go to bed at the same time every night. This will help your routine and your body will know when it is time to rest.
Sleep position: the best are back and side!
Now maybe you have no trouble falling asleep, but you’re wondering what position is best? We spend a significant amount of time sleeping throughout our lives. It’s important that your sleep posture is not hurting your health. Think about it, you could be spending hours a night in a poor posture. It could be pushing your head forward and slow down the progress we’re having with your adjustments and traction!
One good option is to sleep on your back. The biggest advantage to sleeping on your back is that your body weight is distributed over a large surface area, helping the spine stay stable. Back sleepers often have trouble breathing at night and are known to snore, making them disruptive to not only themselves but also their partners.
Tips for Back Sleepers:
1. Make sure your pillow isn’t too tall or narrow. Your neck shouldn’t be pushed forward as you sleep.
2. It’s best to sleep with a small pillow underneath your knees. This will encourage the natural curve of your back and help avoid back pain
Side sleeping allows your spine to rest in a more neutral position and maintain its proper curves. It is also a good position for those with sleep apnea. A loose fetal position is fine but try not to sleep too tightly curled. Not only does this pull your head forward and round your upper back, but it restricts your diaphragm.
Tips for Side Sleepers:
1. Make sure you have a pillow between your legs. This will help reduce strain on your low back and hips by keeping the pelvis level.
2. Make sure you have a good supportive pillow, ideally the distance between your shoulder and your head, so that your neck isn’t bent in funny ways.
3. Try to avoid the arm under the pillow business. It can add strain to the rotator cuff (shoulder) and make your arm go all numb and tingly in the morning. You can use a body pillow between your legs and hug it as well. This will give you something to hold onto and avoid sleeping straight on the shoulder.
Now maybe you sleep on your stomach, which isn’t great for you ☹ I used to be a stomach sleeper myself! This can cause all kinds of aches and pains and put a lot of strain on the neck.
Tips to train yourself out of stomach sleeping:
1. Wedge a pillow underneath the side you are facing. This will help encourage sleeping on your side while giving your body the sensation of stomach sleeping. Even if you are ¼ of the way on your stomach, it’s better than being fully on your stomach!
2. If you really must sleep on your stomach, try sleeping without a pillow, or a pillow under your chest. This may seem uncomfortable in the beginning, but it’s really not that bad. Sleeping with no pillow will stop the neck from going into over-extension. What’s the best pillow? We often hear people say they can’t find the right one! We say it’s usually a sign their spine is the problem, not the pillows ☺
We recommend the Therapeutica pillow to help keep you in the correct position. It is designed for back and side sleepers. The middle of the pillow is made for back sleeping. It cradles the neck and keeps it in the proper position. The ends of the pillow are for side sleeping as they are higher and therefore keep your head in line with the rest of your body when laying on your side. If you’d like one, you will be measured to ensure the right size for your shoulders. It is a weird pillow and takes some getting used to, but most people that use them, love them!