We spend approximately one third of our lives in bed so it is important to purchase a mattress that is right for you. It is also important to develop healthy sleeping habits and to think about the way that you are sleeping. The spine contains natural curves that you should maintain during sleep.
Sleeping on your stomach
This is not the best sleeping position for your spine as it puts stress on your neck from twisting to one side and eventually stresses the lower back. Chiropractors do not generally recommend sleeping on your stomach.
Sleeping on your back
This is a good sleeping position. To make yourself more comfortable you can place a pillow under your knees to reduce the amount of strain on your lower back. It is also important to have a pillow that supports your neck correctly.
Sleeping on your side
This is also a recommended sleeping position. With both knees and hips slightly bent and a pillow placed between the knees, you can maintain the curves in the spine. The pillow should be at a height that supports the neck properly.
General tips for a healthy sleep
- Avoid caffeine approximately 4-6 hours before you go to bed
- Establish a routine- go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
- Don’t oversleep- try to get 7-8 hours per sleep a night
- Only use your bedroom for sleeping – having TVs and computers in your room can cause over stimulation and can disrupt the normal sleeping pattern
- Avoid high intensity exercise 2-3 hours before bed time
- Avoid alcohol right before bed as it can cause you to wake up during the night
For more information on healthy sleep, see the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia’s “Bedside Buddy” sleep handbook: