Sleep disorders are a major problem for many. Surveys have shown that over 40 percent of Americans have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, or have some kind of sleep disorder. Whether tossing and turning, counting sheep or staring at the clock as the minutes turn into hours, we've all had nights where sleep was elusive.
There are many factors that can cause sleepless nights: restlessness, surrounding noise, or just having a lot on one's mind, but sleep is incredibly important to the health and well-being of both our minds and bodies. We can't function properly without a good night's sleep.
While chiropractors can use various techniques and treatments to help patients with sleep disorders, there are steps to follow before seeking a doctor's help. These tips may help you sleep better:
All of these are important tips, but the best way to ensure you get a good night's sleep is to make sure you're comfortable. One of the most common reasons people have trouble falling asleep his because of an uncomfortable mattress and/or pillow. Discomfort from sleeping on the wrong mattress or pillow can keep you from getting a deep, renewing sleep. Even more disconcerting, it can also cause chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.
It is worth the time, effort and cost to make sure you are sleeping on the right mattress. Everyone has their own ideas about what is comfortable. It's best to shop around and try out multiple mattresses until you find the perfect one for you.
When shopping for a mattress, support is the most important thing to check for. You want to make sure the mattress supports your entire body from head to toe. Your body should be against the mattress at all points with no gaps. Body weight should be evenly distributed, so that the spine stays aligned while you are asleep. Mattresses that are too soft or too firm can be damaging.
You should lay on the mattress for at least three minutes and make sure you test it out with your partner, if you have one. Make sure the mattress feels comfortable both when you are on it alone as well as with your partner.
The most popular type of mattress is a spring mattress. Experts recommend that you flip the mattress or turn it around every few months to ensure that it lasts. If the mattress starts to become soft or to sag in the middle, one option is to put a board underneath it for more support. If you have the opposite problem and it is too firm, try adding foam padding to the top of the mattress.
It may be the right time to get a new mattress if you find yourself having trouble getting comfortable in bed at night or waking up feeling achy or in pain. You can try to flip and/or turn the mattress, but if it is really old, or if it has already been moved around recently, it's probably time for a new one. Another factor affecting mattress comfort can be changes in the body, like significant weight loss or gain.
While mattress comfort is essential, the pillow is important as well. The head and neck need the same support that the body needs. The head and the body should be in proper alignment. If you are lying on your back, your head and upper back should be level. If you are on your side, your head and lower back should be level. Pillow material is also significant. A pillow can look full but be stuffed with a soft, unsubstantial material that provides little support. On the other hand, if a pillow is too firm it can strain the neck. With sufficient pillow support, the head and neck will be level with the chest and lower back.
One thing to keep in mind: there is no one mattress or pillow that makes everyone feel comfortable. Finding the right mattress and pillow for you is a process. However, if this process isn't yielding results, and you're still having trouble sleeping due to pain or discomfort, make an appointment with a chiropractor for an evaluation and treatment.