We know the effects that not enough sleep can have on us physically, mentally and emotionally. A lack of sleep can have significant effects on our brains ability to function, reducing concentration, productivity and decreasing our abilities to learn through impairing memory, as well as leading to increased feelings of stress, which can have a snowball effect on all areas of life. In the long term, some evidence suggests that long term sleep deprivation plays a role in the difficulties associated with diabetes, a weakened immune system and obesity.
The position your spine is in while you sleep is critical to your spinal health. The spine naturally curves forwards in the neck, backwards in the mid back and forwards again in the low back. In this position, the spine is relaxed with minimal pressure on nerves, muscles and spinal discs.
For many of us, the underlying cause for poor sleep is sometimes right underneath us- improving sleep quality can sometimes be as simple as finding a better mattress. According to a study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, compared to mattresses five years old or older, a new mattress provided sleepers with significant improvements including, 70% in sleep comfort, 62% in sleep quality, 55% in back pain and 50% in spine stiffness.
It is important to consider these statistics because we spend one third of our lives in bed, so choosing the correct mattress and pillow is vital for getting straight to sleep. So when do you know it’s time to look for that new mattress?
Manufacturers and chiropractors recommend replacing your mattresses every five to seven years, when you begin to notice sagging spots in the mattress as your muscles tense to compensate for the uneven surface.
What about a pillow?
If you find yourself having to fold your pillow in half, or it is just too squishy it’s probably a good indication it’s time to invest in a new pillow. A pillow should have enough give to allow your head to mould into it. A pillow should support the space between your head and shoulders. So you head and neck remain level with your mid and lower back.
Simple Tips to Help you get straight to sleep:
Ensure you have a comfortable, supportive mattress and pillow.
Adopt a healthy posture in bed- Avoid sleeping on your stomach- the best positions are on your side or back.
Have a sleep schedule & reduce caffeine intake 4-6 hours before bed
Hydrate with Water & Don’t forget to Exercise – If your body becomes dehydrated, it responds through stress – keeping you up at night. Research suggests that a decrease in body temperature is a key trigger to signal the body it’s time for sleep- so after vigorous exercise, your body temperature will raise for a period of 4-5 hours, after which it will then drop to a lower temperature than if you hadn’t exercised at all. This lower temperature will help you get to sleep
Get adjusted- Ensure your spine is in check and there are no stresses on the spine keeping you up at night.
If you have any questions about sleep or pillows or would like to book an appointment with one of our Chiropractors or our Acupuncturist please contact our staff on (02) 6884 1655