The Secrets to a Spine-Helping Sleep
By Krista Elliott
Oh, blessed, wonderful sleep.
Sleep is our body's time to restore itself. Your brain processes and retains new information and forms new connections, while your body repairs damage and supports the proper functioning of your body. It's basically like an operating system update for your entire body (except that your body actually works better after sleeping).
Not all sleep is restorative, though. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a back that's stiff and sore, and hips that feel like they're full of ground glass? A lot of adults' sleep habits (or sleep environment) are harmful to the spine and joints. Not only does this result in a poor night's sleep, but it also results in ongoing subluxations, joint restrictions, and daily discomfort.
So, how can you make sure your sleep will help your joints instead of harming them?
Goldilocks Knew What's Up
The first place to look is your mattress. The right mattress will support and cradle your body, keeping your spine in alignment. Many people with back problems make the mistake of buying the hardest mattress they can find, only to wind up with aching joints from all of the pressure spots in their hips and shoulders. Conversely, a too-soft mattress won't give you enough support, leading to a C-curve in the spine and strained muscles.
Assume the Position
Your sleep position has a huge effect on the health of your spine and joints, with some positions being much better than others:
- Stomach sleeping — Sorry, but this is really the worst position for your back, as it offers no support for your spine, strains your neck and puts pressure on your muscles. If you really can't sleep any other way, a small pillow tucked under the pelvis helps keep your spine in a better position. As well, use as thin a pillow as you can to avoid straining your neck.
- Side sleeping — Side sleeping can be comfy, but if your leg slides forward, or if you sleep in the recovery position like many people do, you're twisting your shoulders and pelvis, putting pressure on your spine. A body pillow (or particularly snuggly spouse) can be used to support your top leg and arm, keeping your pelvis and shoulders aligned.
- Back sleeping — Back sleeping, when done on a properly supportive yet cushiony mattress, is the best position to keep your spine and joints neutral and comfortable. Be sure to use a pillow that supports your neck without lifting your head up too high.
And if your joints and spine are aching, make sure to stop by The Joint Chiropractic for relief. With gentle and precise adjustments to restore joint function and relieve pain, you'll feel like your old self in no time. You could say it's a dream come true.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.