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What’s the most time-consuming thing you do, day in and day out, every day of your life?
Eating? We certainly hope not. Watching TV? Nope. Driving through traffic? Possibly. What’s
most likely though? It’s sleeping.
You spend between six and 10 hours a night in bed. That’s one-third of your life in the long
run. And when it comes to back pain, those are some of the most important hours in your day.
Sleep helps your body heal. It’s really the only time your muscles can completely rest and
recover. There are a ton of studies linking sleep with healing. They show that, among other
things, human growth hormone and melatonin, both of which play a big role in tissue
recovery and immunity, are produced during sleep.
So if you’re not getting good sleep, whether it’s due to pain, anxiety, fear or other reasons, you
are not giving your muscles, especially your back muscles, time to rejuvenate themselves for
the next day’s activities.
Believe us, we know. In our search for experiences, we have come across various struggles
with all kinds of pain over the years; We have come to understand first-hand the importance
of restful sleep.
What’s the Best Mattress
Is firm better than soft? From a
physiological standpoint, a more
supportive mattress is better regardless
of what sleep position you prefer.
But having said that, the real answer
is this: The best mattress is the one
that helps you sleep well and wake up
without any added pain and stiffness.
It’s really about personal preference
and what you are used to.
In our experience, we have
experimented with most of them, if
not all. From firm to super soft. From
innersprings to coil. Even memory
foams to latex. Our experiment with
memory foam mattress became a
failure because it was too soft. (We
gave to some elderly parents, and they
loved it.) Ideally, we have become fans
of using a firm box spring mattress plus
a towel under the sheets to give added
support to our hips and pelvis.
Special Secret Tip:
You read that right - We put towels
under the fitted sheet. A small blanket
works well too. Here’s what you do:
Fold the towel or blanket in half (and
in half again if it’s thin). Place it under
the fitted sheet-so it doesn’t move
around during the night-under the
small of your back and spreading down
toward your knees. This extra support
helps prevent your pelvis from sagging
into the mattress. It might only make
a difference of a few millimeters. But
that is a huge difference when it comes
to preventing the added stress that
comes with remaining in any sleeping
position all night long.
What’s the Best
Position to Sleep In?
As with the mattress you chose,
the position you sleep in is based
on your personal preference or
physical limitations based on pain or
restrictions from your doctor because
of surgery. In general, back sleeping is
the most stable position for your spine
and the least irritating to your muscles.
Side sleeping is the next best. Stomach
sleep is the least desirable if your back
is not adequately supported.
One of our personalized
recommendations, is a personalized
side-lying position, using full-length
body pillow. We experimented by
having one member sleep by “hugging”
the pillow with his arms and legs,
which he claims was really comfortable
and takes pressure off his lower back.
We think you should try it, as long as
you don’t have any medical or physical
difficulties. Body pillows can be found
at most retail bedding stores. They are
not expensive and may give you an
alternative sleeping position that will
make a big difference in your comfort
level, thus improving the quality and
duration of sleep.
Why am I Sore
When I Wake Up?
Typically, those with back pain don’t
roll over as much as those without
pain. You may even find yourself with
limited movement in many cases. And
because the hips are the heaviest part
of the body, they sag into the mattress
over time. That puts undue pressure on
the ligaments, joints and muscles of the
lower spine. To counter this effect, we
highly recommend the added support
under the fitted sheet.
Think of it as like stretching the same
muscles for six to eight hours straight.
Would that feel good? Of course not.
So it’s no wonder you wake up sore.
Find a way to support your body and
you will minimize the irritation.
Apr/May 2014