We all know that sleep is important. If we don’t get our 7 or 8 hours a day, it can not only make us tired and irritable, it can lead to health problems if we allow it to go on.
People who suffer from joint or back problems often find it very difficult to get a good night’s rest. As an Ealing chiropractor in our busy Chiropract Clinic – The Spine & Joint Centre, I see many patients who have trouble getting a decent night of rest and that generally makes their condition worse.
When you bear in mind that we spend nearly a third of our lives in bed, you begin to realise how important rest is in ensuring back and postural health.
Sleeping on the wrong kind of mattress may lead to problems or make certain conditions worse because your body isn’t getting enough support. Even the position you adopt when in bed, whether that’s lying on your back, front or side, will ease or put pressure on sensitive areas like your lower back.
All sorts of things can disturb our sleep. If we’re stressed at work, we’ll find it difficult to drift off. Maybe you take your mobile phone to the bedroom, checking your tweets and emails, without actually realising this can adversely affect your sleep patterns.
- It’s important if you have disrupted sleep to try to get into a good routine.
- Avoid things like caffeine at least four or five hours before you go to bed.
- Avoid alcohol or eating before you retire.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night and give yourself enough hours (at least 7 or 8).
- If you have a stressful life, try taking a hot bath or meditating before you go to bed so that you have time to switch off and feel more relaxed.
Choice of Mattress
Is your mattress really that important?
There are a lot of different ads on TV and online nowadays promising you a fantastic night’s sleep. At our Ealing chiropractic clinic, we know that a poor mattress can lead to back problem and certainly could make things worse if you already have an issue.
A good quality mattress can be expensive, of course, but it’s well worth the investment. Companies are likely to make all sorts of wild claims about their mattresses but, in our experience, choosing a medium-firm product is your best bet. If possible, try to get out to a store and actually lie on and try out the mattress before buying.
Another thing to consider is your pillow. Ideally, you want one that keeps your spine aligned while you sleep. If you sleep on your back, you may want a thinner pillow while you should probably have a higher one if you prefer to sleep on your side.
How Do You Sleep?
Sleep position develops from childhood and generally morphs into what we feel most comfortable with. That’s not always the best thing for your back and neck, however.
Back sleeping is best if you want to fully support your spine and neck but it’s not a comfortable position for many people. If you’re not used to it, learning to sleep on your back is difficult. It can also exacerbate problems if you have issues such as sleep apnoea or excessive snoring.
The next best option and one which most people prefer is sleeping on your side. A good quality mattress will give you plenty of support and allow you body to be comfortably aligned. We advise that you try to switch sides from time to time.
One option you should avoid, especially if you have back issues, is sleeping on your front. That’s because it flattens out the normal curvature of your spine and puts pressure on the neck area in particular.
Paying more attention to how you sleep as well as what you sleep on will make a big difference to your back health. At our Ealing chiropractor clinic, we are always happy to advise our patients on maintaining all aspects of their back, neck and joint health.