Move Better, Rest Better: Part 3 – Sleeping
A good night’s rest is very important for our health. We need about seven to eight hours of sleep for optimum daytime function, proper regulation of hormones and good cardiovascular health. Moreover, a healthy sleep environment, including a good sleep ‘set-up’, can increase quality of sleep during those seven to eight hours. Here are my three tips for setting up your bed for the best night’s rest:
- Medium-firm mattresses are arguably best for supporting your spine. Of course, everyone’s spine is different, but research from Spain suggests that medium-firm mattresses work best, especially when dealing with low-back pain.
- Pillow height is very important! For side sleepers in particular, pillow height must be enough to fill the gap between your shoulders and your head. A quick way to discover if your pillow is high enough is to find out whether you are rolling forward or backwards at the shoulders when you lie down at night. If you roll forwards, your pillow is probably too low. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy a new one! Try folding up some towels instead and popping them under your pillow. Rolling backwards is a lot less common. If you find you are rolling back, however, your pillow is probably too high and you might have to consider getting a smaller pillow.
- Make sure you sleep in a dark, cool and quiet room. If you can, put away your electronic devices an hour or two before bedtime. Bright screens tend to reduce the amount of melatonin (sleep hormone) being produced by your body and can hinder the natural sleep process.
So, for those who missed it or just wanted a recap: that was the third and final topic I covered during our first health workshop, ‘Move Better, Rest Better’. I hope you found it informative and simple enough to apply. Look out for more workshops at Croydon Chiropractic Centre in the near future – we hope to see you at one of them!
Yours in health,
Dr Roi Cheng.
Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14
Kovacs FM, Abraira V, PeÃ±a A, et al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2003;362(9396) 1599-604.
What Makes You Sleep? Available from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/whatmakes.html