Are you sleeping enough? Most of us confess that we aren't.
The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep. Our bodies need this time to recharge and refresh so they can function properly the next day.
We all know that our bodies need rest in order to feel refreshed and be able to function well on a daily basis, but many people are either not getting enough sleep or their sleep is disrupted by the wrong pillow, posture, or even what you do in those first moments after you wake up.
The quality of your life can dramatically change when you start sleeping well. This post is going to give you some clear insight, tips and tricks to improve your sleep. If you can apply some of what you learn here, you'll see results right away.
1. Choose The Right Bed Or Pillow
The age and quality of your mattress have a major impact on how you feel. A worn-out mattress can certainly contribute to back and neck problems. Most experts agree that traditional mattresses should be replaced every 5-8 years.
Since you spend about one third of your life in bed, choosing the right mattress is critical. Unfortunately, mattress selection is a highly individual process as there is no single “best” mattress.
The following tips will help you make an informed decision:
- Choose a medium to firm model. Mattresses that are either too soft or excessively hard can aggravate back pain.
- Keep the pillow-top relatively thin. An excessively plush topper is the equivalent of placing a cheap mattress on top of a good one.
- Always replace the box spring foundation when you replace the mattress.
- Select a pillow that will hold your head in a neutral position while sleeping on your side or back.
- Avoid excessively thick or multiple pillows.
- Choose a fiberfill or feather/down pillow as these are usually better than foam.
2. Your Sleeping Posture
The position you sleep in may affect how you feel.
Unless directed otherwise, try to sleep on your back with a pillow either underneath your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Keep your neck and back covered while sleeping to avoid drafts that could cause potential muscle spasms.
3. Getting In And Out Of Bed
Here are a couple of tips to help you get in and out of bed more comfortably:
To lie down: Sit on the edge of the bed, pull your arms to your sides and tilt your body into the bed, maintaining the bend of your knees at 45 degrees. Finally, bring your feet into in a lying position or roll onto your back.
To get up: From a side-lying position with your knees bent, push your body upright into a sitting position, swinging your legs over the edge of the bed as you rise.
4. General Sleep Habits
Follow these additional tips for better sleep:
- Limit screen time before retiring- the blue light emitted from computer monitors, phones and TV’s can limit melatonin production and adversely affect sleep. Try reading from a book or magazine instead.
- Ideally, eat your last meal 3-4 hours before bedtime and especially limit heavy, spicy or high-fat foods. Ration how much you drink before bedtime to minimize bathroom breaks. Particularly limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening- caffeine has a half-life of 6-9 hours and can keep you awake long after the last sip.
- Stick to a sleep schedule, trying to retire and arise at the same time each day, including weekends.
- Choose 100% cotton sleep clothes and sheets over synthetic materials (i.e. polyester).
- Some research has suggested that your “deep” REM sleep improves when your mattress is oriented so that your body is aligned North and South as opposed to East and West.
- Most people sleep best in a cool room; ideally between 60-67 degrees F.
- If your budget allows, consider a temperature control device, i.e. Chili Pad, to keep your bed at the perfect temperature.
The tips and tricks we’ve shared here should help you get a better night’s sleep.
If you follow the advice in this article you should be able to enjoy a night of deep, restful sleep! If you're in pain or feel discomfort when you're trying to sleep, please talk to us.
Our expert team is standing by, ready to answer any questions or help you get free from pain so that you can sleep well.
Dr. Anil Kaushal