Written by Dr. Mark
This morning I had to be up at 4:30 A.M. to get my mother in law to the airport. As I was driving I realized I needed to write a daily sprout for today. So I then spent the next few minutes thinking about a topic to write about, and well I decided on sleep, since I was wishing I could’ve had more. We all know that sleep is important and that we really should aim to get “enough” sleep each night as well as getting a “good” sleep. There are really a lot of different aspects of sleep and how it affects us. For this daily sprout, I’ll just touch on the most frequently asked questions.
What’s a good mattress. The go to answer for a long time has always been to aim for a firm one, which is mostly true. There was a study I remember seeing when I was in school about this topic. They found that the best mattress was the one that people felt the most comfortable on. I don’t remember exactly how they did this, but if I’m correct, they monitored people’s sleep and also had them rate mattresses on their comfort. In general, people had better sleep on the mattresses they felt were the most comfortable. So when shopping for a mattress you definitely want to feel comfortable on it. So, that’s pretty common sense and doesn’t really help much. But I think the point of this study, and their conclusions, were to say that you shouldn’t sacrifice your comfort for the firmness, while having a firm mattress may by better for your posture (which we know is extremely important), if you can’t get comfortable and have a good sleep, it’s working against you. So look for something that is firm, but comfortable.
The next thing we’re often talking about in the office, as it pertains to sleep, is position. On the back is the preferred position, it is the best for your back, easiest to stay neutral, and puts minimal stress on your body. The one thing to really be careful about when sleeping on your back, is making sure your pillow is not too thick, causing your neck to be flexed forward all night. Ideally you’d use a very thing pillow, contoured pillow, or neck roll (like included in your home care kit) to help promote the curve in your neck while sleeping. However, for most people, this is a very difficult position to sleep in. The next best is side sleeping. This will put more strain on your body, and getting into a neutral position is not as simple. The mattress can effect this too, if it sinks too much. The most important thing is keeping the neck as neutral as you can. So for side sleeping you want the pillow to fill the gap between your shoulder and the side of you head, so your not bending either direction. You can also put a pillow between your knees to help take some pressure off your hips. Lastly, stomach sleeping. Try to avoid this. The main reason we say this is because you have to turn your head to the side, the entire time. This is really just awful for your neck. If you really must do it this way, try to keep it balanced, with having your head turned both directions for equal amounts of time.
Sleep well – Dr. Mark