Are you sleeping incorrectly?
When it comes to sleep, many of us wish we could have more of it, and to improve the quality of the sleep we are getting. But did you know, that you could be your own worst enemy when it comes to getting the rest you need?
To help you get a better night’s sleep, Sealy UK, in conjunction with experts from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), has outlined the top four mistakes you’re making that could be affecting the quality of your sleep, and what you can do to correct them.
Mistake 1: Sleeping with too many pillows
When it comes to pillows people usually fall into two camps – those who can’t properly sleep unless they have two fluffy pillows and those who swear by only having one very thin pillow to sleep on. But which is the best to help prevent back and neck problems from developing?
Marc Sanders, Chiropractor, British Chiropractic Association says:
“It is best to adjust the amount of pillows you use so that your neck is in a neutral position, ensuring your neck is in line with the rest of your spine when you lay your head onto your pillow. Often two, depending on the thickness of your pillows, can be too many, as it can cause your neck to excessively bend, whereas if your pillow is too thin, you may find that your neck is bent backwards. When we adopt these ‘end-range’ neck postures during sleep they can increase biomechanical stresses on our neck, leading to stiffness and pain in the morning.”
The answer? – Try using a single, supportive pillow that is thick enough to keep your neck in a neutral, comfortable position
Mistake 2: Choosing the wrong mattress
We spend a third of our lives on them, but when it comes to our mattress, many of us are guilty of not taking them seriously. Whether it’s keeping hold of an old mattress for too long (8 years is the maximum time recommended by experts before you should look at changing) or not spending enough time finding the right mattress for your needs, the wrong mattress could play havoc with your health and wellbeing.
But which is best, a soft mattress or one that’s firmer?
Marc explains: ‘The best mattress is a supportive one, and it really depends on a number of factors – a 16 stone person sleeping on a mattress may not get the same support as a 10 stone person sleeping on the same mattress for example. If you are lying on your side, your spine should be parallel to the mattress – your spine should not sag as this could mean the bed is too soft, or bow, as this could mean the bed is too hard.’
The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate this feeling will be – a good excuse to spend an hour or two in a bed shop!
The answer? – Make sure to try before you buy
Mistake 3: Sleeping in the ‘wrong’ position
Whether you sleep on your side or prefer to lie on your back, when it comes to sleeping positions, we all have our favourites. But which is best?
‘The best advice is to try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on your back. This could be bad news for people who like to sleep on their front, as this position can be one of the worst for putting extra strain on your back and neck,’ Marc says.
‘If you find that you can’t sleep in any position other than on your front, reduce the strain by placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen. Whatever your sleeping position, those who have a bad back should try placing a pillow under their knees when they sleep. This can help flatten the back and relieve pain.’
The answer? – Use an extra pillow to reduce back strain and relieve pain
Mistake 4: Sleeping with your partner
Love it or loathe it, sharing your bed with another person can play havoc with the quality of your sleep, if you’re not careful.
If your partner moves around a lot at night, this can disturb your sleep and aggravate conditions such as back and neck pain, and you could even find that they don’t have the same mattress preferences to you, which could lead to disagreements and one of you compromising on their comfort. However, don’t look to banish your partner to the spare bedroom just yet. If it’s your partner’s movement that is disturbing you, try a mattress that has a zero deflection spring system, which combats both weight and movement to avoid motion disruption.
The answer? – Find a bed that works for both of you