When you get a good night's sleep, you can feel the benefits throughout the day. But stress, noise, an uncomfortable bed and snoring partners can often get in the way of what could have been a peaceful slumber.
Tim Hutchful, a Chiropractor from the British Chiropractic Association, suggests some simple changes to your sleeping habits that might help you get the best sleep you've had in years.
1. Do some gentle stretches BEFORE you get into bed. Then, when you get up in the morning, try and move around before you make any sudden movements or bend. A nice easy stretch to do in the morning is to stand holding onto the wall and marching, as this will loosen the joints in your pelvis.
2. The best kind of sleeping position is one that avoids you sleeping on your stomach, as this puts you in a position that twists your neck. Try lying on your side with a small pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a more neutral position. However, if this position is painful, move.
3. Since we spend about a third of our lives in bed, investing in a good mattress is important. If you can’t afford a new mattress, you can make a hard mattress soft by using a topper. Unfortunately the same can't be done if you're struggling with an over-soft mattress. Some mattresses can be turned or flipped, but double check as some are designed to only be used on one side. If you can turn it, do so. If it can only be used on one side, you can swivel it round from top to bottom.
4. If you suffer from back pain it is more important than ever to get a supportive mattress rather than a hard or soft one. The problem is terms like "orthopedic" or "ergonomic" have no industry standard, i.e. anyone could call a mattress "orthopedic” so often it is used more for a sales point of view. Instead, always try before you buy and see what feels right for you.
5. Try and keep well hydrated as dehydration can cause muscle ache and cramps that could wake you up. If your mattress is over 10 years old think about changing it. Don’t forget to look at the pillow you sleep on as well, as this can either improve or cause problems with your back or neck, so choose wisely. There is no such thing as "one size fits all" so do your research and try different beds. Buy the biggest bed you can, as this will allow you (and you partner) more space to move around.
Tim is a spokesman for the British Chiropractic Association and has more advice published on the BCA website, as well as a video which can be found here.
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