By Linda Banks
If you’re like most of the population, you sometimes struggle with getting good quality sleep. Too often, you have one bad night of sleep and it quickly seems to escalate into night after night of restless sleep. Although there are people that truly need a doctor’s advice due to sleep apnea or other physical ailments, for many of us, we simply need to make some changes.
Many of the tips are very well known, but we’ve also found a few tips that are not as well known that we’d like to share those with you.
Most well known tips
Schedule your sleep: Keep on a regular bedtime and wake schedule.
Prepare your environment: Keep down the noise and the light. Make sure the room is comfortable.
Food Choices: Limit caffeine intake during the day and limit alcohol before bedtime
Less well known tips
Sleep position: Most people don’t realize, but the position in which you sleep makes a big difference in how restful you sleep.
According to the latest research, the best sleep position is on your back. In this position, your chances of getting muscle cramps, stiff necks and pain is much lower than in other positions. This is because you are sleeping with your spine straight, which limits the stress put onto your spine and the back muscles. You can use a small pillow under your knees to help get more comfortable and it is suggested you keep your arms at your sides. The only time the flat-on-your-back position is not recommended is if you struggle with snoring at night.
The second best position is the side position. In this position, you are also reducing the stress put onto your spine and back. You may put a small pillow between your knees to reduce the stress on your hips. It’s also important to get a pillow that keeps your spine in a straight position and doesn’t elevate your head too much. The only time this may not be a good position is if you have a tendency to place one arm up under your head as it may cause problems with the nerve that connects down into the arm.
The worst sleep position is on your stomach. If you are a stomach sleeper, you may wish to gradually try sleeping in other positions until you are comfortable with them.
Let’s talk pillows: The main purpose of a pillow is not to elevate the head, but to keep the spinal column in a natural line. If the pillow is too high or too low, you are adding additional stress onto your skeletal system, which may lead to sore muscles, stiff necks and even a bad night’s sleep. Only use enough pillows to support your head properly.
However, it’s also important to look at what’s in the pillow. You want a material that is flexible enough to shape itself to your head, but also provides support so that your head doesn’t easily flop around at night. You also want one that is easily cleanable as dust and pet dander on a pillow can aggravate allergies, which can cause a bad night’s sleep.
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