Monday, 3 August 2015

How to choose the right mattress and pillows for a good nights sleep

Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you wake up some mornings with back or neck pain worse than the night before?

Not getting a good night sleep can leave you tired and grumpy throughout the day. Many people are confused about how to create an optimal sleep environment.  Simple and efficient changes can be made to help, decrease, or prevent back pain throughout the night. 

What Mattress Should You Buy? 

Mattress shopping can be tricky and will be different for everyone. Ultimately, personal preference should be the number one factor in determining what is right for you. Your mattress should be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape, but firm enough to support the spine.

The coils/springs in a mattress provide the support, and the top cover thickness provides the comfort. Often, the softness of a mattress is what helps you fall to sleep, but the firmness helps you remain sleeping. Finding the right combination will differ for everyone.  If you share your bed, look into buying a mattress that has independent support systems for each sleeper. It is a good idea to purchase a mattress from a supplier that allows you to try it in your home risk-free for a few nights before making the commitment to buy it. Another great tip is to test out different hotel mattresses when traveling to determine what you like.

Knowing when to buy a new mattress is also important. If it is no longer comfortable, or if your mattress sags in the middle, this might an indication that you are ready for an upgrade. Keep in mind that the price of the bed does not always mean it will be better for you. Go to many stores and test out several before spending big dollars assuming it will be the best. 

What is the Best Sleeping Position? 

There is no single best sleeping position. Often what works for one person, may not be the best for another. Sleeping on your stomach is not the best option. This position will cause your neck to be twisted awkwardly for an extended period. Stomach sleepers who wake up in the morning with headaches may find it helpful to try and sleep on their back or side. Furthermore, sleeping on your stomach contributes to a flattening of the spine's natural curves, which increases the load on the surrounding muscles.  If you insist on stomach sleeping, try putting a pillow under your hips to raise the low back’s natural curve.

For low back pain sufferers, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees can take pressure off the lower spine. If you do not find this comfortable, try lying on your side with a pillow between your legs.  Do not worry about an attempt to stay in the same position all night. Moving around can decrease the pressure on your back over the course of your sleep. 

What is the Best Pillow to use? 

If your tossing and turning at night, changing up your pillow could be the answer. No matter what position you sleep in, your pillow should fill the gap between your neck and the mattress while still maintaining your natural spinal curves. For proper spinal alignment, most pillows should be propped up about 4-6 inches. However, if you must sleep on your stomach, the pillow should be thinner to prevent your neck from twisting even further sideways.

Since everyone is unique, find a pillow that can be adjusted to work for you. For example, water pillows allow you to adjust for firmness based on the amount of water put in them. Memory foam pillows adjust to form the head and shoulder shapes. It is also important to remember that pillows lose firmness over time; therefore, changing up your pillow now and then is a good idea.

Before purchasing a pillow, make sure you are not allergic to any of the materials. Hypoallergenic pillows are available for people who are allergic to certain fabrics or feathers. At the end of the day, our pillow gives us a sense of comfort. While pillow shopping, make sure you test them out to find one that is perfect for you.

Good Night!

If you want to understand more about your insomnia you can book a  complementary no-obligation assessment with one of our experienced health coaches who can answer your questions. Call 613 230-0998, book online, or email today!

About the Author

Dr. Stacia Kelly is a chiropractor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Clinic, located in the downtown Ottawa core. The clinic has over 15 different wellness practitioners. They work as a team and consider individuals symptoms to provide a real holistic approach. This method enables them to identify and treat the underlying causes of your issues to give deep, long lasting healing.

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