Shorter days and colder mornings can mean that our bed calls our name a little louder this time of the year. According to the Sleep Foundation1 33% of your life is spent sleeping , so the way you sleep should help, not hinder, your spinal health.
As sleep is a crucial time for your body to rest, regenerate and heal, it is important the way you sleep supports that. Sleeping in awkward positions can have a major impact on your quality of sleep and overall health. Poor posture has the potential to cause back and neck pain, along with fatigue, muscle cramping and other health issues.
With four in every 10 Australians not getting enough sleep2, ensuring your body is supported and in the correct position can help with getting a good night sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
Is it time to upgrade your mattress?
Old mattresses can be contributing to already existing back pain or incite pain to present itself, so supporting yourself with an up-to-date mattress as your body moves through the stages of sleep helps support your back and get those crucial hours of sleep.
Are you in the correct position?
It is generally agreed that sleeping on your back is the best position for your spinal health. Sleeping on the back evenly distributes weight across the surface of your body, allowing your head, neck and spine to rest in a neutral position. It can also help minimise pressure and ensure proper alignment of your internal organs. You may choose to place a pillow under your knees to keep to the natural curve of your spine.
If you sleep on your side, try lying with a slight bend in your knees and consider putting a pillow between your knees so that your legs are about hip-width apart. This can reduce the pressure placed on the spine and provide alignment.
Avoid positions that change or distort the natural alignment of your spine. For example, sleeping on your stomach can create problems with your spine as it puts unnecessary pressure on your neck due to twisting your head and placing strain on your spine.
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 hands, as it shows you correct and incorrect sleeping positions.
Ask your 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. Find an ACA chiropractor near you at findachiro.org.au
1. SleepFoundation.org www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
2. Deloitte Access Economics (Deloitte), Exhibit 2b: Asleep on the Job: Costs of Inadequate Sleep in Australia, 2017