Sleep is an important part of overall health, yet most of us don’t get enough of it. Lack of sleep can contribute to health problems, memory loss, and low pain tolerance. This is why sleep is a critical part of the #HealthyNewYou challenge.
Make an effort to get the right amount of sleep. These tips will help you get the restorative sleep you need.
1. Choose the right mattress.
If you’re sleeping on the wrong mattress, it may be difficult to get good quality sleep, and you’ll often find that you wake up with back pain. Everyone is different, so you’ll need to try out your mattress before buying to see what works for you. Look for a mattress with medium firmness that supports your spine in its natural position–a mattress that is too firm can put too much pressure on the back, while a mattress that is too soft doesn’t offer enough support. You’re looking for that “just right” balance between firm and soft.
2. Well-placed pillows can help.
If you suffer from lower back pain, it can be difficult to stay comfortable throughout the night. Pillows can help reduce the strain on your lower back and make it easier for you to sleep. If you sleep on your side, try putting a firm pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to keep them elevated.
3. Fix your sleeping position.
You have to figure out what sleeping position makes you most comfortable. However, some positions may be better than others if you have certain back conditions. Those with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis may be more comfortable sleeping on their sides with their knees curled up to relieve pressure. Those with disc problems like degenerative disc disease or herniated disc may be more comfortable sleeping on their stomachs to relieve pressure on the disc space.
4. Try not to fall asleep on the couch.
Not only can napping on the couch disrupt your normal sleep schedule, it can also leave you with back pain. A sofa won’t provide your back with the support it needs. You often have to sleep in an unnatural position if you fall asleep on the couch, which can create back pain.
5. Keep up a sleep schedule.
Keeping up a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure that you get the right amount of sleep every night. A sleep schedule trains your body to fall asleep and wake up in a consistent pattern. This is why it is important to avoid naps during the day and sleeping in on the weekends; anything that changes when you sleep disrupts your normal sleep schedule and makes it more difficult for you to keep up that routine.
6. Work on relaxation.
If you’re stressed out and tense, you’ll have a hard time sleeping. Do something that helps you to relax before it’s time to go to bed. Try something calming like yoga, a warm bath, listening to music, or reading. These activities force you to slow down, which can help signal to your brain that it’s time for bed.
Do you have trouble getting to sleep? What do you do to keep up your sleep schedule? Let me know by tweeting me @GleiberMD with the hashtag #HealthyNewYou.