Do you ever feel like you don’t get enough sleep? If you answered yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Nearly HALF of Americans are right there with you. In March of 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that insufficient sleep has become a public health epidemic.
Some common excuses for not getting enough sleep are:
- I have to work when I get home since I don’t have enough time to get everything done during the day.
- I just can’t shut my mind off because I am so stressed out.
- My partner snores, and sleeps like a starfish.
- I use late hours to catch up on adulting once my kids are asleep.
- I need to beat this last level of candy crush before I can go to bed.
The list goes on, but chances are you can already relate to one of these excuses.
You may not know this, but insufficient sleep can contribute to the following:
- Poor health
- More pain
- Increased risk for injury
- Decreased immunity
- Mental distraction
- Aging skin
- Obesity or weight gain
- Less sex
- More disagreements
- Relationship dissatisfaction
SO, what can YOU do to fix or prevent these from happening?
- Look at your mattress! It’s really hard to get good sleep if you aren’t comfortable on your mattress. Firm or thick? Everyone is different! Just like a car shopping, you might have to test a few options before you find what is right for you. When purchasing a new mattress, it is good to check what the return policy is. A mattress that feels comfortable in the store might not feel comfortable when sleeping on it every night.
- To dampen the disruption from your partner, try earplugs and a (large) pillow shoved between you and the thrashing sleeper next to you. Both will deaden the noise, but the pillow can also help reduce the amount of jostling you feel.
- STOP using your phones and tablets right before bed! Research shows that blue light (found in these devices) makes you more alert and suppresses your melatonin, thus hurting your quality of sleep.
- Last but not least, find a comfortable sleeping position that won’t stress your spine out.
To all the stomach sleepers out there, this is the least ideal position for someone with neck pain. Sleeping with your head to the side can increase muscle tightness which decreases range of motion. You might also experience airway restriction when the head is turned to one side. Stomach sleepers might think about using a very thin or even no pillow to avoid pushing the head into extension as well as placing a pillow under your hips to help reduce the compression on your low back.
If you are a back sleeper, make sure your pillow isn’t too thick. Thick pillows can raise your head too far toward your chest, shortening the neck muscles, which can lead to forward head posture and increased stress on the spine. Also, putting a pillow under your knees helps to maintain the natural curves in your spine, taking pressure off the low back.
Side sleepers, you should be sleeping with your spine straight, in a neutral position. Use a pillow that is roughly the same thickness as the width between your head and the end of your shoulder. Also, place a medium thickness pillow between your knees and ankles so they are not touching. This will help to decrease stress in the hips, which helps to keep the spine in a neutral position.
Well, there you have it! Good luck and sweet dreams!