MARCH FOCUS – SLEEP

Sleep problems are varied and wide ranging. I’m just going to focus on ideal sleep posture and how best to achieve this.

Pain at night, waking you from, or preventing sleep. Can sometimes be a warning sign of another illness or disease process. The advice I am offering relates to helping muscles and joints lie in a better position, and so hopefully relieve/prevent discomfort. If you have ongoing issues, then your GP should be consulted.

When laying in bed, you should look to achieve a balanced posture, as you should ideally day-to-day whilst sitting and standing.

We all get into habits, and positions we feel easiest to get to sleep in. I suggest, you look at achieving a straight line between your neck and the rest of your spine. This can be achieved when you lay on your back, or if you lay on your side.

Try and have the right amount of pillow to allow this position. This will vary a great deal from person to person. It is dependent on how broad your shoulders are, what your pillow is stuffed with, and consequently how much it is compressed when you lay on it.

It is important to try and make sure it is just your head and neck on the pillow. If this is the case, then with the correct pillow height, good neck support can be achieved. If you allow your shoulders to creep up onto the pillow, then your neck won’t be supported.

Image Supplied by Google

A pillow between your knees may also help balance your pelvis when laying on your side.

Unfortunately, none of the above is possible if you chose to lay on your front. It is ideal to perhaps try altering your sleep position. This realistically will only happen with perseverance over a period of time. Below is a picture of how you may chose to adjust your pillows, if you can’t sleep in any position but your front. The pillow on the diagonal under the head, allows for a little support. The pillow under the tummy, prevents too much arching through the lower back.

Of course, there will always be circumstances which over-ride these basic guidelines. Examples are: In pregnancy, laying on the back may cause dizziness, and on the front soon becomes impractical! So side-lying is ideal. There are pillows which allow for support under the baby bump and between the knees which can be really useful.

Some people who suffer respiratory illness, or find they have dizzy episodes may find laying on their back as described above aggravating. So in this instance, having an extra pillow, so the head higher, is probably essential.

There is a wide range of mattresses and pillows out there. As a general rule, look for a mattress which is firm, and so supports the curves of your spine. When all is said and done, it boils down to personal preference. So think about your individual needs, and purchase accordingly. If you would like any guidance, feel free to email me on info@rivermeadosteopaths.co.uk.

If you have trouble unwinding to fall asleep at night. Try diaphragmatic breathing, see below.

The scarf is optional, it allows for a little feedback if you’re new to diaphragmatic breathing. If you are using this, wrap around the lower ribcage and hold the two ends up at the front.  Breathe in through your nose, try and use the lower ribs and diaphragm muscle. You should feel an expansion of the lower ribcage. So feel it expand to the side, and back onto the surface you’re laying on. (The scarf allows a little more feedback of this motion if necessary.) Breathe out through your mouth. You can spend as long as you like practicing this. Possibly 1 to 2 minutes as you’re trying to go to sleep. As well as being good to work the diaphragm and ribs, it may even help you drop off?

Finally, this made be smile.

Image supplied by Google