Today on 19 March we celebrate World Sleep Day! An annual day highlighting the importance of sleep health and encourages us all to prioritise sleep to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
Sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle alongside healthy eating and regular exercise. Sleep disturbances may lead to poorer physical and mental health and are known to increase the risk of developing other chronic health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, cancer and mental health conditions. Inadequate sleep is also associated with a reduced life-span.
Your spinal health can also be impacted by the way you sleep at night as well. From old mattresses, to incorrect sleeping positions, this World Sleep Day take some time to re-evaluate your sleep.
Starting with your mattress, an old mattress can be contributing to existing back pain or incite pain to present itself. Supporting yourself with an up-to-date mattress can help you get those crucial hours of sleep.
The main position we sleep in at night can also affect our spinal health. As we naturally gravitate towards a certain sleeping position, either on our back, side or stomach, some can be more beneficial than others.
Here are the most common sleeping positions and how to adjust them for better spinal health:
- Stomach sleeping: Bad news for stomach sleepers, this is considered to be the worst sleeping posture and is not recommended. It puts unnecessary pressure on your neck due to twisting your head and the straining of your lower back. It can also cause pressure on your chest.
- Side sleeping: This is generally considered a better sleeping position for a healthy spine. Try lying with your lower leg fairly straight and bend your upper leg or try placing a pillow between your knees and bending both your knees and hips slightly to position your pillow. This will reduce pressure placed on the spine and provide alignment.
- Back sleeping: Sleeping on your back can also help maintain a healthy spine. For extra support, place a pillow under your knees to keep to the natural curve of your spine and reduce strain on your lower back. It is also important to ensure your head pillow is the correct height to reduce strain on the curves of your neck.
The ACA has also developed an augmented reality (AR) experience on sleep through the Straighten Up app. Collect the app card from your ACA chiropractor and experience the 3D character come to life in the palm of your hand, as it shows you the poor and correct sleeping positions.
Ask you local ACA chiropractor about the Straighten Up AR cards and for advice and assistance on how to implement correct sleeping positions into your nightly slumber.