Protect your spine when you're asleep!
Chiropractic tips for a good spine's sleep Adults over 18 years of age should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Whilst this may be easier said than done with modern day busy lifestyles, we at Ashwood Chiropractic Clinic, wanted to talk more about it.
Why at least 7 hours a night?
Our bodies are constantly repairing and “updating”, even as adults. The best time for our bodies to do this, is whilst we are asleep.
Sleep aids our immune system. Heard of the phrase “tired and run down” if you’re body hasn’t had enough sleep, it can have an effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds, or other infections.
Energy levels. We all know we have more energy after a good night’s sleep – need we say more?
Protecting your body. Ever thought the position you sleep in may have an effect on your spine, your shoulders, your neck, or even your hips or knees?
The best mattress’s and pillows for your sleeping position. There is unfortunately no wonder-mattress that will do everything for everyone. The most important thing to look for in a mattress is support – one that keeps your spine parallel to the mattress. A mattress that is too soft will cause your body to sink, and your spine to sag and bow towards the mattress. A mattress that is too hard will cause your body to be pushed upwards, and cause your spine to bend to accommodate the curves of your body. Both of these cause stress’s to be put through all the joints and bones in your spine, and even your shoulders, neck, hips and knees. Sleeping on your front? We don’t recommend that anyone sleep on their front, as this position causes a sharp twist in the neck, and compresses the chest, making breathing more difficult whilst asleep. Sleeping on your front has even been said to predispose the skin on the face to early aging, because of the pressure applied to the skin throughout the night! If you do sleep on your front however, or find that this is the position you wake up in, we’d suggest that either you sleep with no pillow, or with a very thin one – as your head doesn’t need any support in this position, and anything placed under the head will only add to the torsion through the neck.
We also recommned placing a supportive pillow under you abdomen, this prevent the lubar curve of your spine becoming too excessive leading to a strain on your lower back. Sleeping on your side. If you sleep on your side, we recommend you use several thick pillows. 1 – The first thick pillow for your head, as this pillow needs to be the width of one of your shoulders, in order to keep the neck in its neutral position. 2 – The second pillow is to go in front of your chest. This is to keep the top arm parallel to the mattress. If you sleep on your side, and have your forearms or hands together this can cause unnecessary stretch through the back of the shoulder and the upper back, and can compress the chest and ribs, as well the front of the shoulder joint. Placing a thick pillow (or big teddy bear!) under the arm will help to open up the chest and prevent the stretch through the back. 3 – The third pillow is to go between your knees (or between the top knee and the mattress). For much the same reason as keeping the elbows apart, this pillow keeps the top leg parallel to the mattress and reduces stress’s through the hip joint and the pelvis, as well as decreasing any twisting of the lumbar spine. Sleeping on your back. If you sleep on your back, you need a thin/mid thickness pillow to go under your head. A pillow that is too thick will push the head in to flexion, meaning you are more likely to suffer from pain in your upper back. We also recommend that you use a thick pillow under your knees (yes – under your knees!). This pillow prevents the weight of your legs from pulling the pelvis forwards, which causes an increase in the curvature of your lower back, compressing the joints of the spine and pelvis. If you have any other questions about sleeping positions, or pains you experience whilst sleeping, you can book an appointment via our “Book Now” button, at the top of this page.